We are conscious and intentional about racial reconciliation. We are listening.
I am obsessed with the strength of tree roots. The resilience to withstand the weather, the grace to shed, the compassion to go through rebirth. Their cycle and evolution mimics our daily behavior. How often to do we need to Re-Root? How often do we need to grow our roots and rise up? Being rooted provides a grounding unlike no other. Yoga has stories. One of my favorites is the the story of Tree Pose.
Trees appear throughout Indian sacred literature as symbols of the universe and as organic links between God and the individual. In this pose, imagine yourself as both Sita and the tree. The tree, patient, stable, and deeply rooted, offers shelter to the one who takes refuge beneath its branches, back snuggled firmly against its trunk. At the next opportunity, sit with your back to a tree and feel it breathe with you. Have you ever been called upon to comfort, to “back up” someone who needed your protection? Did their trouble disturb your equilibrium? It takes a lot to shake a tree. Through your back, sense the tree's profound calm.
When the demon king Ravana kidnapped Queen Sita and brought her to Lanka, he naturally assumed that she would fall for him. After all, other women did. He was handsome (once you got used to his ten faces), strong, and fabulously wealthy and powerful. His palace was a sensualist's dream of beauty and pleasant surroundings. Ravana was not unlike an urbane, highly influential drug lord—repellent, yet fascinating at the same time. He offered Sita one pleasure after another, but she said no to them all. He proposed to make her his chief wife, and Sita refused. She refused to spend even one night inside Ravana's beautiful palace. "I am your prisoner, not your guest,” she said, “and I will never be your woman. Remember, I am Rama's wife and he will find me. And when he does, you will wish you had never even seen me.”
“I'm a generous man,” replied Ravana. “Every day I will ask you to accept me. You have one year. After that, if you still refuse, I will cook and eat you.”Outside the palace, inside its walls, stood a grove of ashoka trees. Ashoka means “without sorrow.” Ashoka trees are symbols of love in Indian folk tradition. They are also healers, containing powerful medicinal compounds. Sita lived under the trees, surrounded by Ravana's elite staff of rakshasa women—monstrous creatures with the faces of goats, fish, and dogs; with hair sprouting from unlikely places; and unusual numbers of eyes and limbs. The guards were ordered not to harm Sita physically, but they could use psychological methods to break her down. They told her that Rama would never find her, and even if he did, Lanka, being an island fortress and protected by magic to boot, was impregnable. They advised that life in the comfort of Ravana's harem was a pretty sweet deal, as his hundred satisfied wives could attest. They said that a woman as royal and beautiful as Sita deserved to live in a palace and to be treated like the queen she was, not wander the forest with her exiled husband. “Forget Rama,” they said. “Think of all that Ravana could do for you. And it's not like you're leaving here alive anyway,” they reminded her.But Sita sat, with her back against an ashoka tree, and she breathed slowly, and she waited. She concentrated her mind on Rama with one-pointed focus. Every thought, every breath, every beat of her heart said “Rama…find me. Rama. Rama.” She sent her love and longing into the trees, and imagined their leaves broadcasting Rama's name to the atmosphere. Sita was the daughter of Bhumi Devi, the earth itself, and deep within she felt kinship with rooted, growing things. Silently, those ashoka trees spoke to Sita: “Stay still, little sister. Be calm and steady, like us. Seasons change, we know, we know. This captivity is not forever. Stay still, and remember Rama.”
Trees are patient creatures. They live a long, quiet time, and they know how to stand firm through all the changes of day and night, climate and season.
On the mainland, Rama summoned Hanuman, his monkey superhero aide-de-camp. Hanuman could assume any size he chose; he could fly; and he was prepared, at a heartbeat’s notice, to do anything Rama asked. “Go,” he said, “find Sita. But don't frighten her! Take my ring; when she sees it she will know you have come from me.”And one day, Sita heard a name called softly from above: “Rama, Rama…” It was Hanuman, in the form of a tiny monkey. Hanuman spoke her beloved's name with all the love and longing that Sita felt in her own heart, and her heart told her to trust this peculiar messenger even before he produced a gold ring inscribed with “Rama-Rama-Rama” all around its circumference. The Ramayana (the epic that this story comes from) is a teaching tale. Sita represents the mind or individual soul, Rama is the lord, or cosmic soul. They are separated through the machinations of Ravana, the ego, who kidnaps Sita by tricking her into desiring a magical golden deer for a pet. Mind loses its focus on the lord, the highest reality, and finds itself imprisoned. Now, Sita must regain her meditative focus. What helps her? Remembering her lord, being still and aware in a natural setting. And what helps her even more, once she has begun that practice, is the appearance of Hanuman. As she regains her composure and her focus, Hanuman—Rama's messenger—finds her and shows her Rama's ring as a token. As she remembers him, he also remembers her.
When events like this happen in our lives we sometimes call them coincidence, or synchronicity. (“I was just thinking of you, and you called!”) Remember a time when you sincerely turned to God (or to your practice) for help, and suddenly the world seemed full of “messages” from the universe, assuring you that you were on the right track. When that happens you are Sita in the ashoka grove, and those coincidences are Hanuman arriving with a token, reminding you that Rama remembers you too.
Namaste! Thank you for stopping by Rooted Yoga and Wellness. My name is Jennie and I am a Registered Yoga Teacher RYT-500, Reiki Master, Certified Mindfulness Instructor, Thai Massage Therapist and Acupressure Therapist. I came to yoga in the late 90's out of a place of grounding and healing. I had always considered myself physically fit but at some point in my early 20's I lost myself. Yoga was my path back home. Learning so much more than Asana, I learned who I was. I learned to root down in faith and trust and love for myself. I came home to my breath. I found solstice and comfort in knowing that no matter what, I would be ok. I am a survivor of so much, as we all inherently are. As survivor of stroke, sexual assault, violence and addiction, I learned that there is beauty in healing and in letting go. I learned to love myself before I could love anyone else. I learned that there is a method to Western medicine and that by using Yoga, Meditation and a holistic lifestyle we can send the body into healing from the inside out. My love for yoga runs deep. Yoga is going in deep into the heart and into the mind. It is honoring your breath. It is planting roots as firm as the trees and knowing that you can, right here, right now, re-root and rise.
We donate all of our profits to local organizations each quarter, staying rooted in service with each breath.
Do you find yourself stuck? Do you find yourself suffering? Are you a seeker? What if I told you everything you need is already inside of you? That by taking mindful steps to do the work and to dive into yourself, you would find all the answers. Yoga is a gift. I invite you to open it. To find you. To find your center. Your home. Your ground.
Yoga is for everyone. Yoga changes. Yoga heals. However, at Rooted we are not bringing Yoga to you, we are bringing you home to yourself.
True yoga is not about the shape of your body, but the shape of your life. Yoga is not to be performed; yoga is to be lived. Yoga doesn’t care about what you have been; yoga cares about the person you are becoming. Yoga is designed for a vast and profound purpose, and for it to be truly called yoga, its essence must be embodied.
– Aadil Palkhivala
As one of the area's only Non-Profit 501(c)(3) donation based wellness centers Rooted in Service & Recovery, we are asking for your help! Checkout out the link for our fundraising campaign.