Wednesday, April 6, 2011

LAYS Practice--Putting Our Sails Up In The Winds Of Grace

Grace is a wind, blowing at our backs, if we but open our lives to spiritual practice.

What is Grace?

The word "Grace" calls up both secular and spiritual meanings. It means coordinated elegance, such as a graceful dance. It means the state of your account before the interest is charged, such as a grace period. It means a free gift from that which is beyond you, and far greater. Like "olly olly oxen free" in the ancient childrens' game, Grace is the feeling of relief that results from resetting all anxiety.

Though Grace is a free gift, it requires us to be receptive. Grace cannot benefit one whose life is closed, just as love cannot warm a cold heart that stays distant. When we kindle our hearts with self-love, and warm up to giving love, others' love can provide an abundance of fuel for our life. Likewise when we prepare ourselves to receive the benefits of Grace, we change our connection to the power that can move our boat more surely and powerfully through the waters of life.

Laissez Faire Yoga is a "course in grace." C-O-U-R-S-E in grace is also the memory device that reminds us "how to be" as we begin the movements. In a broader context, this is how we practice to live a more wholesome and abundant life.

The Oars of Intentional Action

Like a boat moves through the water from the effort applied to oars and rudder, life moves ahead (at least in part) through intent. Setting goals and taking action are important, but not the only elements driving our life development--just as the force of rowing is not the only force moving a boat. Because forces beyond us push us hither and yon, too.

Currents in the water, like circumstances in our life, impel us forward or impede our progress. Turbulence, like chaos and disorder, interferes with our direction.

The Sails of Regular Practice

And like a boat that has a sail, our life of practice can catch the wind and move "all ahead full." Moving our body, clearing our mind, opening our heart, imagining the expansion of our soul: each of these practices raises a canvas. Tying the sail with regular practice, we swing our lives to fill with the winds of Grace, and to develop under the applied force of its influence.

And so at the beginning of light adaptive yoga stretch (LAYS), we use the letters C-O-U-R-S-E in grace to remind us:


Open to awareness

Unify or blend

Release tension

Sync up/sink down

Extend Ki or energize

Thus we raise our sails to its winds.

(c) Copyright 2011-2013, Leland S. Ferguson, all rights reserved. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners*.

*Photo Credit: Caribbean Sunset Image courtesy of Tim Seed |


  1. Wanting: Is the object to live in Divine Inspiration each moment or to seek abundance?
    From Wiz

  2. Hi Wiz,
    Long silence and a bow!
    The student has found abundance in continuous DIvine Inspiration.
    The teacher visits us in breath work like this:
    Long in-breath through the nostrils, visualizing chaos and confusion:
    puff the out breath through pursed lips, visualizing Divine Order.
    The pause at the moment between breaths can be without thought.
    How is that for you?

  3. Thank you Lee,
    Do you feel we can be without thought doing most any mantra? Is this quiet place the same for each of us, if our intent is to be with the divine?

  4. Yes, it is possible to let thoughts go when doing a mantra, except for the repeated use of the words or the image in the visualization. I don't know about the quiet place being the same for each of us. Intent to be with the divine, without desire, is bliss.

  5. Thank you Lee.
    Love you guys bunches!
    Our best to Pam!

  6. I once had a moment of complete stillness, while meditating, that lasted almost a handful of seconds. It made me very happy to reach this accomplishment. I say this is nearly an eternity. What do you say?

  7. Complete stillness is the result of many moments of activity. The pleasant feeling comes right along with it. See my May blog for more on how we experience Being Itself. Enlightenment is made eternal by practicing body mind heart soul exercise.