I’ve been on semi-sabbatical this year. I’ve spent very little time blogging, writing articles or sharing on social media. I have done very few public events. I’ve been shopping, having spa days and eating pastries in cafés. My local Carluccio’s has all but given me a pastry pass!
And I’ve been dancing again. From the first week of January I’ve been going into the studio and reconnecting with dance. It’s been a long time since I felt a front-and-centre connection with that part of myself. It went into hibernation, allowing other parts of me to wake up.
But now I’m making art with my body again.
This image was created with Mr. Benji Reid during a day in the photography-dance studio. Reflecting on the image, this is my thought:
Eros is Infinite. It has the capacity to hold All of You. Are you ready?
Today when I lay down in shavasana my arms are very close to my body which feels ramrod straight. I wonder what it would feel like for the body to be dead. Corpse pose. I think about the fact that this is a contradictory thought – a dead body wouldn’t know what it feels like to be a dead body. After a while I feel prana moving around my toes, legs and then dancing around all parts of my body from one place to the next.
A while later I suddenly get a visual in my mind’s eye of my spine with the chakras as yellow paper flowers opening when I breathe in and closing when I breathe out. Spine has become lungs….like bellows filling and emptying with air-energy. The chakra-flowers like pretty paper parasols pinging open and flopping shut. I enjoy this breath-visualisation-sensation for….I don’t know how long.
When I open my eyes I notice that a deep peace has filled me up. I lay still enjoying that for….I don’t know how long. When I get up the body moves peacefully. I notice that the room seems stiller than it did before and there is more space around each object.
Today when I lay down in shavasana my left hip feels uncomfortable. I wait for a moment then move my left leg about to release the sensation. It softens and my right shoulder involuntarily ‘releases’ and drops a little closer to the ground. My stomach feels pulled together somehow- it’s a sensation I only feel in corpse pose – it’s completely comfortable and taut at the same time. A couple of moments later a sigh rises through my lungs and releases itself through my mouth. And another one. A few more moments pass and I almost fall asleep.
Upon reflection I’m struck by how quickly the body went from full-on prana- fuelled action to the relaxation of sleep.
Today when I lay down in shavasana my body feels sucked into the ground and prana moves fast and hard through my body in a swirling vortex movement. It feels like a strong vibration whirling around the body- as if the whole body feels dizzy. Brahma Shakti (energy of creation) whirling through fascia, blood, muscle.
Each asana *begins* with the physical posture. But what makes a yoga posture different from say an exercise posture is that asana is designed to change your inner state. Each asana is specifically designed to bring about specific internal state(s).
The invitation of corpse pose is to die to your current state to allow new creative energy to flood the body-mind-being, unrestricted by thought or activity. Thought and activity require you to focus attention. When we focus we direct prana to the object of our attention – it’s a narrowing or gathering of energy. In corpse pose we release and relax. We diffuse our attention so that prana rejuvenates the body.
Today when I lay down in shavasana my eyes are open. My body feels very flat against the ground – like a cartoon figure that has been flattened by a steam roller.
My heart chakra is pulsing and feels swollen on the left side. Prana is pulsing there very strongly. My breath is strong, audible and flowing through my upper lungs. My chest rises and falls.
Then the star that I see through my third eye appears in front of me. Its pale blue-white, and it is faint against the white ceiling. I decide to practice shambhavi mudra – the soft, unfocused gaze where your peripheral vision comes into play. Inner focus, outward gaze. Outer sight and inner sight embracing each other.
I notice that my breath has shifted. It is inaudible and my belly is rising and falling as breath flows through my lower lungs.
Today when I lay down in shavasana my attention was drawn to my crown chakra – specifically to the atom point through which one enters the subtle space. Gently I feel the space above my head expand. My whole body seems to elongate – my feet feel far away. Hovering in this space above the thousand petalled lotus I relish this body – ever new, and full of delightful surprises.
The body is far more fluid and subtle than we usually give it credit for.
Poolside shavasana. Today when I lay down in corpse pose I felt suspended. The sound of the water added to this. The edges of my body softened into fuzz. Strong wave of prana flowed through the flesh of my buttocks into my hip bones which felt pushed forward – like they were yawning and stretching. Fuzzy edges of body. My toes tingled and the soles of my feet felt polished – ‘like alabaster’ was the phrase that came to mind.
When I walked out of the gym a little while later I noticed that my hip bones felt springier and more ‘in place’.
Today when I lay down in corpse pose I felt the right side of my body to be heavier than the left. I noticed that my head was titled to the right and my left leg was turned out so that the outside of the foot almost grazed the floor. It felt like my left shoulder was lower than my right.
I stayed with this weightiness, not attempting to bring my posture into symmetry. Its all too easy to correct the pose rather than listening to its lag/ log/ logic. What has my heavy right side logged in its wisdom? The weight said ‘Wait’. ‘More stillness’. ‘Turn inward even deeper.’
As you read this what has your posture logged in its wisdom? What is its weight telling you?
Today when I lay down in corpse pose I am aware of lots of thoughts, and the sound of a song playing in my head – many Chitta vrittis – (mind waves) are present. Then I become aware of the sound of Om – The ever present pranava reveals itself. I become aware that my attention is in my head area. Then my skirt feels very heavy around my hips. My belly pulls my attention into itself. Head and belly…. two points of play in today’s shavasana. Om, thoughts, belly sensation… body, mind and deeper mind. Layers of self bleeding into and out of each other.
So I’ve just had a whim to journal and share my shavasana practice for the next 14 days. So here goes.
Today as soon as I lay down in shavasana I had an image of threads of gold surrounding me from above. This image came directly from a meditation I had had years ago. It always fascinates me when meditation images come back. The prior significance is present but augmented by today’s interpretation. The act of relaxing into shavasana immediately brought forward my internal vision. I find increasingly that my internal senses impinge on my external body-world reality. Often there is no separation between the two. So Shava allows Chit Shakti (the power of consciousness) to flow manifesting as internal, subtle senses.
Shava + Shakti = Shiva
Shiva consciousness constantly acts in the body making continual change. Dissolving and creating cells, muscle, blood, bone, breath, sight . And here I lay suspended in threads of gold – an internal external surrender.