As I watch my sunflower seeds slowly begin to grow, I have visions of the bumblebees that usually greet me in the garden on a warm Spring day. As they buzz around me, it’s as if they’re thanking me for planting the flowers just for them. With thoughts of bees buzzing in my head, it seems only appropriate to share with you the technique and benefits of a wonderful breath called Bhramari Pranayama (translated as “bumblebee breath”).
Bird-sound and the fluttering of wings is definitely a sign of Spring at my house. And, with the arrival of my first hummingbird this morning, it feels like a perfect time to share with you one of my favorite Yogic stories – the beautiful story of a small bird who was willing to fight for what was important, and then simply trust the outcome.
During Yoga class you may have heard the standing balance pose Garudasana, referred to as “eagle pose” and wondered why. Garuda’s story can help us understand the intention that is required to fully embody Garudasana. In Hindu mythology, Garuda is Vishnu’s carrier. He is described as a divine bird with the head and wings of an eagle, and the body, arms and legs of a man.
Garuda’s story begins when he finds out that his mother, Vinata, has made a foolish bet with some snakes. After losing the bet, she is enslaved in Patala, the underground city of the snakes. When Garuda approaches the snakes, with the intent of freeing his mother, they tell him that they will only free her if he brings them some amrita, otherwise known as the nectar of the Gods. The amrita is stored in a lake on the top of a mountain and Garuda must make his way through three obstacles in order to retrieve it. Garuda sets off, determined to bring back the amrita and free his mother.