Today when I lay down in shavasana I feel my hair against my neck as my head touches the ground. Abundant shiny hair. I think of Shiva’s hair – scooped up on his head, adorned by a crescent moon. The king of yogis. His hair is power and beauty. There is the sense of being adorned by your own strength – coiffed by your inner resources. Power, beauty. Inner, outer. Depth, surface. The veil between inner and outer dissolves. I notice that my body feels suspended just a teeny bit above the ground – as if there is a sheet of space between floor and flesh.
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 there is a torque from my right toes through my left hip to my right shoulder. I enjoy the shape for a while then wiggle my body about to let it go. It’s the start of the day and I want to bring my frame into balance. And rest.
My head is sitting heavy on my neck. I move it about a and the heaviness is still there. I take my attention to the sensation in my throat chakra. In classical Sanskrit speech theory the throat is the third energetic centre through which sound moves before it manifests as outward speech. Navel, heart, throat, tongue – words (and their meaning) come into form as they journey through these four centres. We know what it feels like to “swallow your words”. You can feel them going back into your throat. If they are emotionally charged you can feel them go back into your heart. If they are deeply self expressive you feel them sink into the pit of your stomach. Tongue, throat, heart, navel - the reverse arc of creation.
I notice that the heaviness in my neck has softened but not disappeared. When I focus on my throat chakra I see whirling silvery-blue light. Shiva’s stardust. And suddenly I’m meditating on his blue throat (Nila kantha). His throat is blue because he holds there the poison that is spewed by the cosmic body/ocean before the nectar of immortality arises. Poison and nectar. The throat is a place of alchemy.
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 (corpse pose) my navel chakra is warm – like there’s a mini sun shining down on it. This is the place of food and the thinking mind (manas). There is a verse in the Upanishads that says that the most physical part of food is excreted from the body; the subtle part of food is absorbed into the body and the subtlest part is absorbed into the thinking mind. Food nourishes mind.
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.