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.
Breath control is one of the main practices in yoga. When you breathe up and down the spine (into each chakra) you are meant to breathe deeply. The classical texts on yoga are clear that the lungs should be filled and emptied.
But there are times when my body doesn’t want to breathe deeply. It almost hurts to breathe deeply. So I don’t. I allow my breath to be shallow.
If deep breath takes you into deep meditation, does shallow breathing take you into shallow meditation? I don’t know.
Shallow breathing is that it makes me pay keen attention to my body. The slightest over-expansion on my lungs feels uncomfortable. To stay comfortable – and comfort is essential for good meditation – I have to stay tuned into my body.
The restricted movement of my lungs diffuses my attention into my flesh. Not just any attention, but tender attention – making sure that each breath caresses my lungs and doesn’t push against them.
Deep breathing, deep meditation. Shallow breathing, tender meditation.
Recently I’ve been creating and sharing a lot of content on different online platforms. Last night I became aware of the double feeling of eloquence and vulnerability. The throat chakra is the space of expressing self in the world.
I took this selfie. The contours of my throat – strong muscles, vulnerable dip – embodied the dual feeling of eloquence and exposure.