“Ambition has one heel nailed in well, though she stretch her fingers to touch the heavens.” ~ Lao Tzu
A gate, with strong, straight sides and a soft, gracefully rounded top can blow open with the slightest breeze if the latch is not used at the proper moment. A weak slat at the center can allow all sorts of undesirable things to sneak through. Today, we are maintaining the gate: making it strong and oiling the hinges so it opens easily when we want it to.
The warm-up and Earth-Rain BreathBody link focuses energy to the center of your body. Feel the strength there as you exhale and tighten your core! The gate is anchored to the ground and strong in its center, even as the cleansing energy of the rain washes the dust of a day away.
As you lower into forward fold, you are reminded of the hinge of your hips as the hinge of a gate. Feel the hinge soften, as it may creak or squeak if it is too tight! Close the gate with the exhale, and open again with the inhale, as if the breeze of your breath alone opens and closes the gate.
The transition from Forward-fold to Plank posture reminds you of the boards that comprise the gate. They must be strong and straight. Feel that energy in your core. Here you find the strength of your center, the essence that holds the gate together. Strong arms and legs are the posts that keep the gate parallel with the ground. Energize your hands and feel the strength of each finger as they push into the Earth and stretch the whole of your arm and your shoulders.
Soon you find yourself in Sunbird lift and you are perched atop the gate, able to enjoy a different perspective for a breath. In the lift, you can explore the sky; find the energy of the legs, one grounding, one reaching from level hips and that solid center. In the bow, the weight shifts to your arms, chest and back. You find the earth and appreciate the support and strength it provides. Your extended leg is given more freedom to reach and stretch up.
Then you are the gate! Beautiful, strong and restored. Your arm circles and you can feel the line of your spine made straighter by the practice. Your center feels strong. As your arm circles, you can imagine the gate moving smoothly and with fluidity. You can push your extended foot into the floor and feel your balance steady.
Your spine is rewarded with a wonderful downward-facing dog. Then you roll through all the points of your body as you shift and lift into upward-facing dog. Enjoy the feeling of the strength in your arms, the graceful lift of your neck that extends all the way through to the top of your head. The gate is able to open and close freely, accepting the new, while always able to return to the place of greatest stability.
“As if to vow to ourselves to become ourselves, again and again,” Kate says.
Balanced in ourselves and open to change. The cycle begins again.
What does the Gate Opening Sequence call to mind for you? What is your favorite part of this practice?
Heather Gregory is an avid Namaste yogini and has been practicing the sequences nearly every day for three years. We enlisted Heather to embark on Sadhana, our 26 -week journey, and blog about each sequence.