Last fall new opportunities in my life gave birth to an unexpectedly unruly schedule, and I found myself working many hours per week on day and night shift for a few month period. I was happy with what I was learning and the increased tapas through work experience and service, but I found myself in a land I knew all too well…Vata Provoked. According to Ayurvedic wellness, the air element within each of us (Vata), is more balanced through a set routine. It is especially important for Vata types to eat, sleep, work, and play at a set time each day lest the winds grow wild. Vata out of balance can be ungrounded, afraid, physically tired, mentally scattered, etc, etc, etc. When in balance, vata can be an inspiration like fresh spring winds. In order to invite balance into my being, I self-prescribed Dani McGuire’s Ojas Flow practice from her Ayurvedic Vinyasa Flow DVD every day for forty days. Since I live a couple hours from my Prana Yoga family in Fort Wayne, Dani’s CD and DVDs help me to stay connected. Every time I pressed play, I gave thanks for the usefulness of technology and its ability to traverse time and space. The Ojas practice is a lunar flow. I have discovered that the gentler energy of lunar practices nurture my airy nature. Dani describes Ojas as “the subtle essence that is responsible for life, radiant health, and sustainability.” It is centered in the heart and extends out from there. For me, ojas is a particular feeling state that is like the cooling energy of the night. When the city begins to sleep and drops of moonlight trickle in through the window offering inspiration and creativity, there is ojas. Otherworldly ambient music is the subtle call to practice as the DVD title page is displayed. The Ojas is a slow flow movement practice, which reminds us that there is more to yoga than increasing its speed. The first few days of doing Ojas, I was pretty self-satisfied as I felt amazing from the practice! Then on day three, I began to notice muscles that I had not felt in a long time. I was humbled and quite sore after doing what is for me an appropriate challenge level in a class. I bathed in Epsom salts. I feared it could be a long month, but the next day during practice I felt stronger and more flexible. The journey continued, and a week later I had a dream. A dream messenger told me, “The work you are doing in your practice has released stuck energy in your heart. It will be more available to you now in your upper chakras.” I love a good mystical dream once in awhile! Yoga can nurture the body, heart, mind, and the spirit. After that time, the Ojas Flow practice simply became a nourishing ritual that increased my daily joy. To be honest, I did not get sick of it! Instead, I savored the daily forty minutes to recharge my batteries in a calmly fluid way. I allowed the Ojas Flow practice to become a silky lunar thread that transferred into my life during a high stress season. Becoming the change I want to see in the world requires a balance of action and being. Ojas energy helps me to feel more patient and compassionate toward self and others as I participate in the dance of life. I confess that there were two days that I pressed play on the warming Tejas Flow practice. Surely lovers of a vigorous vinyasa can understand my lapse in commitment to Ojas! In life, there are a few things in which I firmly believe, and a daily yoga practice is one of them. The steady energy I cultivated in my forty day Ojas Flow practice continues to receive support. When I was home visiting Fort Wayne recently, I picked up Dani’s next DVD. It is a Sattvic Vinyasa practice to generate balance, which Dani’s teaching has always offered me.
About Amanda: Amanda Beard’s yoga journey began in 1999 as a physical practice that relieved lower back pain, and this practice has blossomed into so much more. When she explored the philosophical underpinnings of yoga and other healing arts with a Take Five Scholarship in Eastern Religions, she knew that yoga would become a lifelong commitment. In 2003, she graduated from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York with a B.A. in Psychology and a Spanish minor. Through the UR Dance Program, she spent countless precious hours learning deep breath work, alignment based yoga, modern dance, and contact improvisation. Amanda completed a 200 hour Yoga Teacher Certification with Todd Norian in 2006 in Washington, Massachusetts, which enables her to share the grace that infuses her yoga practice today.