Half Moon Pose at Machu Picchu, Peru
Space or Ether is the mother of the other elements. The experience of space as luminous emptiness is the basis of higher spiritual experiences.
Space can be thought of as the sky or voids between objects. It represents those things beyond our everyday experience, particularly those things composed of pure energy like spirit, thought and creative energy.
Artworks look more balanced when you create both positive and negative space as they both play an important role in determining the overall composition in a work of art.
Simply put, positive space is best described as the areas in a work of art that are the subjects, or areas of interest. Negative space is area around the subjects, or areas of interest.
I love creating this art experience with my students. If you are seeing a vase, then you are seeing the white area as the positive space. The black areas become the negative space. If you are seeing faces, then you are seeing the black areas as the positive space, and the white area as the negative space.
In yoga asana practice, poses, our body takes the form of positive space. When we balance or extend our limbs, the area around each piece of our body is considered negative space.
Space is also associated with sound and the 5th Chakra. The 5th Chakra, Vishuddha, is positioned at the throat region, near the spine. Due to its association with hearing, it is related to the ears, and due to its association with speaking, it is associated with the mouth.
Are you speaking your truth and saying the things that really need to be said?
Are you hearing others' truths?
Are they hearing yours?
When the 5th Chakra is balanced and centered, you feel comfortable with communication, you take responsibility for your own needs, you practice conscious listening, you are truthful in confession, you calmly give and receive constructive criticism, and you have positive self-expression and faith.
Many of us are often very uncomfortable with empty space and quiet. We need to overcome this attitude in order to find balance in this chakra which can be cleaned or opened by quiet meditation or vocalization. If you have issues with faith, decision making, will, personal expression, or criticism, these are some more suggestions for a Throat Chakra healing:
Outer space is the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the uppermost reaches of the atmosphere of Earth and between all other objects in the universe.
Outer space may be thought of as an environment and it is the closest known approximation to a perfect vacuum. It has no friction, allowing stars, planets and moons to move freely along their ideal orbits. The gravitational attraction of large bodies in space, such as planets and stars, pulls gas molecules close to their surfaces leaving the space between virtually empty.
Outer space isn’t uniform nothingness. It’s full of stuff. In between the stars, there are clouds of gas and dust. These clouds are sometimes the remains of old stars that went out in a blaze of explosive glory, and they’re the regions where new stars form. And some of that interstellar gas is dense enough to carry sound waves.
NASA designed special instruments that could record these electromagnetic vibrations, then transferred them into sounds that our ears could hear.
NASA's Outer Space Vibrations Video
The Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru sometime in the early 13th century. Their empire spanned 375,000 square miles of South America. and they were conquered by the Spanish in 1572. The Incas claimed descent from the Sun and the Moon, their Father and Mother. The most important events to the Inca involved certain risings and settings of the Sun, Moon, and stars.
The Sun, Moon, and Stars were part of the sacred Incan/Andean Cross with a trinity on each edge. The four flat sides represent the elements Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. North is air, south is water, east is fire and west is earth. The center is the 5th element, the space emanating from the void.
One side also represents the sun, moon, and stars. Another side represents the underworld, earth, and heavens. Further, the anaconda snake (wisdom), cougar (power), and condor (peace). In addition, there are the three rules for morality: do not steal, do not lie, and do not be lazy (to be honest in your work, for the betterment and greater good of yourself and your family, your community and humanity).
The Inca believed in sacred geography and used the principles of sacred space in planning the layout of their cities. Specific features of the landscape were thought to have supernatural power, such as a mountain peak, a plant or a particular configuration of stones. They called these places huacas. Innumerable examples of these existed throughout the but some of the most important ones, like mountaintop shrines, surrounded the city of Cuzco, in the Andes Mountains, which was the political and spiritual central city of the Inca empire.
Among these mountaintop shrines lies one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu. One theory for the purpose of this ancient city is that the Incas used it as a mountaintop observatory (www.ancient-origins.net/). No one knows for certain the specific purpose for this “city in the sky” because the Incas did not keep a written language. Instead, they relied on sound for communication. They specialized in telling their history through the oral tradition, stories and chanting songs.
The main form of communication between Incan cities was the chasqui. The chasqui were young men who relayed messages. When an important message was given, a chasqui would run about a kilometer to another chasqui, waiting outside another hut. The message would be relayed and the chain would be continued for hundreds of miles by hundreds of runners until the last runner reached the receiving Inca and told the message.
Machu Picchu- City in the Sky
The Sun and the Moon were considered gods and temples and pillars were laid out specifically so that heavenly bodies such as the sun would pass over pillars or through windows on certain days, such as the summer solstice.
The Inca built observatories where they captured the first and last rays of the Sun through a series of specially placed windows. Their chief observatory was called the Coricancha, or 'golden enclosure', and was covered completely in gold. This Temple of the Sun is located near the summit of the main city and was built over a rock of pure granite, in a semi-circle formation with no mortar between rocks (perfectly chiseled with simple tools).
This temple represented the cult of the Inti (The principal god, the Sun). The Incas kept several mummies of past leaders in the niches (wrapped in fetal position), to be worshiped an important part of the cult to the Sun.
At sunrise, the Inca population had to greet the Sun God with the "much'ay", sending resounding kisses offered symbolically with the fingertips. Then, the people sang in low tone.
Rising above the entire city, a unique stone is carved so that on certain days, at dawn, the sun makes a shadow, thus working as a sun dial.
The Temple of the Moon is located on the young horn-shaped mountain of Huayna Picchu. The site is made up of stone masonry and an open-face, shallow cave. In the center of the cave is a throne carved out of rock. Beside the throne are steps that lead deeper into the cave. It has a very tall double-jamb doorway, symbolizing that this is a space for a sacred temple.
Since there was no written language, this temple was arbitrarily named. The temple has received this name from the way moonlight radiates inside the cave at night. Keeping in mind that caves, like springs, were thought to be entrances for gods, they believe the Temple’s purpose was to be a place of worship to the Moon Goddess.
The stars in the sky were very important to the religion of the Inca. To the Inca, everything was connected. They identified constellations and individual stars and assigned them a purpose. According to the Inca, many of the stars were there to protect animals: every animal had a corresponding star or constellation which would look out for it.
The Although the Llama is a dark constellation, the stars Alpha and Beta Centauri serve as its “eyes” and are the first to emerge when the llama rises in November. The constellation consists of two llamas, a mother and baby. Llamas were of great importance to the Inca: they were food, beasts of burden and sacrifices to the gods. These sacrifices often took place at certain times with astronomical significance such as equinoxes and solstices. Llama herders were particularly attentive to the movements of the celestial llama and offered it sacrifices (latinamericanhistory.about.com).
Hannah seeks to find relationships between nature, cultures, yoga, and art through her writing.
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Fun Yoga in the Park
Travel the world with me through yoga!
These themed lessons are fun for all ages and levels at Mission Bay Park.
See the page, Park Yoga, for more information!
Lessons from Abroad