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September 5, 2011

A review: Yoga Heart – Lines on the Six Perfections, by Leza Lowitz

I was familiar with the essence of Leza Lowitz’s poetry because I have her book Yoga Poems: Line to Unfold by.  So, I was not surprised to find that Yoga Heart is a beautifully written book. It is also exquisitely illustrated by Akiko Tanimoto.  The ‘Six Perfections’ outline the sections of Leza’s moving, meaningful, thoughtful, reflection-inducing poetry.  They are:

  • Dana Paramita – Giving/Generosity
  • Shila Paramita – Kindness
  • Kshanti Paramita – Patience
  • Virya Paramita – Joyful Effort
  • Dhyana Paramita – Stillness
  • Prajna Paramita – Wisdom

The poems are wonderful stand-alone poems and they also weave one into the other, like a beautiful dance. I can certainly envision yoga teachers using the poems as we are preparing a theme or intention for our yoga classes.  For example:

Skydancer of Bliss

Do you die a little each day,
forgetting who you are?

When you forget, as we all do,
get onto your yoga mat or go out into nature and get quiet.

Start up your breath,
think good thoughts about others,
fit the shape of beauty into each curve of your back,
workshop each beautiful river of your spine,
bless it for keeping you alive.

Drench in the ground you stand on with the light of life.
Move your winds from the left and the right sides into the central channel,
into the arms of the Skydancer of Bliss.

Then watch those thirty-six vertebrae become divine prayer wheels
spinning rapturously with the sacred.

 

And I know that when we spend quiet, intimate periods of time with the book, it will touch places deep in our soul, in our own practice, enticing us to explore our lives on and off the mat – for example:

The Choice

Look not at the fault of others,
at what they have done of left undone.
Rather look at what you yourself
have done or left undone.  ~ Dhammapada, Verse 50

Get off the train of criticism,
or stay where you are if you must –
stuck on the tracks,
blocking your own journey.

You can blame others endlessly
or take responsibility, right now,
for yourself.
Be neither victim nor vanquisher.
Let your failures humble you.
Humility breeds gratitude,
Which gives birth to compassion.

This is moksha,
liberation.
The ability to see the choice,
then make the choice.

 

Yoga Heart is a book that every yoga teacher and every yoga practitioner should have in their library.  Keep it close by – on your nightstand, by your favorite reading chair, in your purse, by your desk – anywhere that will bring easy access to this book that offers us inspiration by simply opening it up and turning to any page.

You don’t have to practice yoga to enjoy this poetry – after all, it’s about ways that touch all of us as we our living life, making choices –  generosity, kindness, patience, joyful effort, stillness and wisdom….

 

Leza’s website

 

 

 

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