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// { Humility } \\


[ || NOUN || ]

The quality of being {humble}. In a religious context this can mean a recognition of self in relation to God or deities, acceptance of one's defects, and submission to {divine} grace. The quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people; the quality or state of being humble.

Recently in a sweat lodge I attended, the story of the Buffalo and humility was shared among the circle. The elder reminded us that it's ok to surrender, to bow down in the face of difficulty. Never do you see the Buffalo standing in the fields, chest puffed, chin up, eyes to the sky in the face of a blizzard saying "bring it on". Instead, the Buffalo digs into the Earth, grounding and solidifying it's foundation, and very {humbly} bows it's head down to the ground to weather the passing of the storm.

I have never left a sweat lodge without having some sort of breakthrough and this time the lesson of humility really resonated with me. I think many of us are taught to stand tall and proud and say "bring it on" to life's challenges. We are told this is what a warrior does, looks opposition dead in the eye and fights {bravely} and {honourably}. Many times this approach works, and we overcome fear, and gain strength and confidence in our abilities. However, many times this method will also bring you to your knees (which is not always a bad place to be either). If we look at this approach from an energetic standpoint, the front side of our body is the yin side. It is vulnerable with direct access to all our internal organs. Sometimes it is best to stand tall shining your heart forth, because we cannot be in a place of love and fear simultaneously. However sometimes I don't feel that approach is always honouring what I actually need to overcome the obstacle in front of me. Sometimes I feel it is what I have been told is brave and courageous and that those qualities are highly valued in society. As I am exploring more, I am starting to see more conversation surrounding the strength in vulnerability, the courage in humility, and the honour in surrendering. Like the Buffalo, a humble submission to the divine grace of Mother Earth, I would like to put it out there that we could all learn a lesson in humility.

Following the {rhythms} of nature we can look at the seasons and how we are directly affected by the natural ebb and flow of the world around us. The outer world is a reflection of the universe within each of us. By closely witnessing our surroundings we can tap in to the valuable teachings about the body's journey in relation to the {Universe}. As we enter fall, we start to see the leaves change colour and slowly shed in preparation for the big journey inward during winter hibernation. You don't see the trees resisting this season. Instead, they put off magnificent hues of reds, yellows and oranges for all to admire before they surrender to the changing air and return to the earth below. Autumn is a time to let go, shed our leaves, and begin the process of turning {inward}. As Rumi has said....

"make like a tree and let the leaves fall"

In yoga class, how many times have you been guided to Baddha Virabhadrasana, the Humble {Warrior} pose... This yoga pose is said to simulate bowing down, as if in reverence, to the divine. It's a pose of surrendering and accepting exactly where we are at this moment. As does the Buffalo, surrendering and accepting the passing storm, so does the humble warrior, surrendering to what is at this present moment. The humble warrior stretches your chest and lungs, shoulders and arms, and the muscles in your back. It strengthens and stretches your thighs, calves and ankles. All of these channels connect to the circulation of wei qi or defensive/protective qi. Wei Qi is fast moving, "slippery" and easily motivated. Primarily on the Exterior (skin and muscles) it travels both inside and outside the channels. The flow of wei qi is mainly found in the superficial layers of the body, especially in the Tendino-Muscular meridians. It functions to protect the body from attack by exogenous (coming from outside) pathogenic influences, to warm, moisten and aid in nourishing skin and muscles and to adjust opening and closing of pores (thus regulating sweating and regulating the body temperature). Wei Qi is controlled by the Lungs, which regulates its circulation to the skin. Lungs also disseminate fluids to moisten the skin and muscles. Chapter 76 of the Ling Shu, states that the wei qi emerges from the eyes at sunrise and enters the urinary bladder channel, from which it flows successively through the remaining yang channels the rest of the day. At sunset it enters the kidney channel, traveling successively through the remaining yin channels during the night.

The high must make the low its base.

[Tao Te Ching chapter 39]

So...what does this all mean? Buffalo's, Humble Warrior, Protective Qi, Autumn and the season of surrender and letting go...To me it's a lesson in finding trust in the surrender. It's humility, it's ease, it's grounding, and it's a release of trying to control what is. We can't stop the storms from passing through, but we can control how we respond and how we weather these storms. We can set up a strong foundation to the earth, and surrender and embrace exactly where we are right here in the now. The Buffalo usually follows the easiest path, the path that opens and flows easily. It implies the law of synchronicity that things will happen in the time, manner and means that is best for us if we allow it. This symbol teaches us that we must be humble enough to ask for assistance and be grateful for what we then receive.

***Photo Credit to Vincent Thebault (c) and the beautiful Yogi demonstrating Baddha Virabhadrasana, Humble Warrior pose in this shot is Melody Young. Melody is an integral member of the Banyan Tree Health Tribe. She is an incredible and inspiring yoga teacher and the yoga practitioner I am blessed to co-facilitate Acu-Yin classes with at various locations in Calgary. For more information on Melody and updates about where she teaches click here. To check out one of our Om-azing Acu-yin classes click here.

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