The Phoenix From The Flame

I’ve been preparing for the workshop and lecture I’ll be giving later this year for the Luna Yoga Teacher Training on Hindu mythology and how it relates to the yoga postures, and I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t passionately loving every second of my research. I’ve been going over the myths I’m already familiar with, as well as hearing some of the more obscure ones for the first time, and I keep having these moments of realization where I can really stand back from my life and see how the path I’m on is truly my dharma…it’s unreal, intense, and satisfying, all at the same time. As I finish with one myth, I put down my books and walk away from the computer, and sit down in silence to think about what I’ve read, and how it applies to my life and my approach to life. The approach that I have to yoga is 90% philosophical and 10% physical, and this is why: I believe that the asana practice is purifying for the body, absolutely. But I also believe that the practice allows for a shift in consciousness, one that opens up new windows of insight and belief systems that challenge who we find ourselves in this moment, how we got to this point, and where we see ourselves moving forward with the knowledge and insight that we have at our disposal. I believe that the mission for all of us in this life is to fully realize that the only thing that matters is to re-connect to the higher energy that is the source of every single thing in existence around us, and within us. Everything else is secondary. How we come to that realization is really up to each of us to figure out, but I can attest to the fact that yoga absolutely opens up gateways to the soul, gateways that can shed a bright, refreshing light into the annals of our consciousness to allow us to see with new eyes.

One aspect of the asana practice that has always fascinated me is the final posture we take before closing out the class: savasana, deep relaxation, corpse pose. When I first started practicing in 1999, savasana was the lifeboat at the end of the long swim through what was then my practice. Whatever happened during class, I knew I could collapse at the end and recharge through the act of doing nothing. At that time, I remained conscious of the fact that my thoughts kept whirling, my eyes would continue moving around, and all I could do was stand in judgement of myself, staying critical of the fact that I couldn’t let go. That changed after a while. I then found myself hearing a voice telling me to connect to the sky, which became my mantra and which enabled me to visualize a beam of light emanating from my third eye and beaming upwards, and it was through this connection to a higher energy that I found myself completely letting go and finding that I had indeed drifted off to some other place during my savasana, a place where I was still conscious, but not of, or in, the body. And now, recently, 12 years later, I have had another revelatory awakening from my savasana: this posture of letting go, where we allow the body to absorb the physical practice we’ve just treated ourselves to, has taken on a new role, one where I set my intention as I lay down to put to sleep that which does not serve me and which identifies with the ego, so that I can rise up at the end of the relaxation period re-born and re-focused. Ever since the adoption of this new approach to savasana, I feel like I have been speeding closer and closer to a new place of spirituality and connection to all that is. Call it re-birth, call it a step closer to a state of enlightenment, whatever. All I know is that yoga has once again offered me a tool where I can be responsible and accountable for shedding off the attributes, events and conversations that have only served to weigh me down and distract me from my focus towards truth, so that I can rise up again after my repose with renewed focus, strength and determination. Focus on my soul and tapping into what it already knows, strength to be unwavering in my journey, and determination to pass on what I myself am living and learning, understanding that if I don’t share these insights, then I’m truly missing the point. And so I hope that you reading this will try out this approach..to savasana, or to any process that you find yourself undertaking that has both a beginning and an end. Allow yourselves to infuse whatever it is you do with the knowledge that you have the power to let go of what doesn’t serve you, and to come out the other side of it with a new sense of clarity and understanding. The tools are already there…we just have to pick them up and use them.

Learn more about YIOM, follow the bloggers participating, and catch up with our twitter feeds at http://theveganasana.com/YIOM.

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3 thoughts on “The Phoenix From The Flame”

  1. Another great post – and also some things to think about this evening when I join Gen’s hot yoga class at Happy Tree. I especially appreciate your sharing of the levels or facets to savasana – I am not yet there, but am happy to know that one day I may arrive, and when I do, the journey will still continue. You always inspire me. Good luck with your 3 blogs a week – I will try to keep up with the reading!

  2. Sometimes, word says all and I like to search the origin of an expression. I tried to analyse the English name of the savasana pose – “Corpse pose”. Corpse, like “dead body”. In the Indian religions, such Hinduism, the body is seen as an instrument to carry the soul. And the death is the separation of the soul from the body. I think that the savasana pose could refer to this separation of the soul with the body. And a feeling to drift off to a place where is not in your body seems to be in total agreement with the separation of the soul with the body.

    You talked also about when the savasana pose is taking place in a yoga practice, just before closing the class. For what I know for most of the Indian religions, life is a continuous flow of birth, life, death and rebirth. Is yoga class follows exactly this cycle too? If we match the savasana pose with the death stage, it comes at the end of the cycle, right before the rebirth…

    I am not there yet myself either. But yoga serves me completely with what I need right now in my life. You bring us the proof that the practice changes with us and I am happy to see that it will evolve with me over the years coming.

    Thank you Bram for this post!

  3. Yes! I love savasana for that reason. It is so life giving. I think for the longest time before I was really into yoga, that is the pose I thought of when I thought of yoga. It is so nurturing. Peace.

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