Metaphor is Powerful; Yoga is Powerful

We’ve just witnessed the power of metaphor on the national stage, and yoga asana practice is direct, personal engagement & embodiment of the power of metaphor. We embody particulars and so transcend the generalities of natural forms in postures,  as when we engage the majestic conversation with air that is the Eagle in Garundasana, the enduring stability of the Tree in Vrkasana, the open reflectivity of the Moon in Ardha Chandrasana. 

While performing asana, the student’s body assumes numerous forms of life found in creation, and he learns that in all these there breathes the same universal spirit – the spirit of God. ~BKS Iyengar

Yoga asana is movement in concert with breath. Each release, each opening is supported by and in turn invites more breath. Each moment of awareness is tied to a simple motion or stillness, a particular moment of physicality accessed through awareness riding the conduit of breath. Minute particulars, infinitely organizable, known only through our unique presence in this one prescious moment. The moment as it is given to us.

Even believing the force of metaphor and the empowerment of presence and embodiment, the mechanics can remain deeply mysterious. How can physical movements change our lives, change the world? While my first inclination at response is “How can they not? Aren’t our lives, Isn’t the world, a collection of movements?”, the deeper answer comes down to particulars.
“Labor well the minute particulars,
 take care of the little ones
 For Art & Science cannot exist but in
 minutely organized particulars.”
~William Blake
Yoga practice leaves us more adaptable, more present and so more alive, creative & responsive. 
“Enhancing respiratory function is the surest and simplest way to increase the adaptive capacity in the organism.” ~Thomas Myers 
So through awareness and attention to particulars of our own ever-present existence, we train ourselves to become more responsive to our worlds and the needs of the people in them.
Still need motivation for practice? How about a recent report in Prevention magazine linking meditation to better sex? We all know better leving leads to longer lives, but if meditation can lead to sexier life, what’s not to try, to love?

We're All Citizens

“Yoga” means “union”.  Today in the United States of America we vote for who will lead our union for the next four years. Whatever you think of the last 4 – or 8 – years, whatever you think of our war, our economy, our taxes or our infrastructure, you have a voice today. Excercise it. Then remember to exercise yourself. Breathe deeply, look next door and remember that the neighbor with the McCain or the Obama sign is … just like you. Just like you, a citizen. Just like you, struggles with fears, lacks, limitations.

That’s the deep challenge of our yoga: to remember that whatever the face of the “other” is, it’s not so forgein. It’s a mask, just like our own, animated by consciousness just like our own.  When we are aware of watching our thought, aware of our awareness, we approach our true self, our self beyond personna, beyond affiliation and beyond name. In this self, we really are the same. This is what we recognize with Namaste.

So maybe as you’re exiting the polls, watching the returns, overhearing conversations of those with whom you do not agree, you can whisper a quiet “Namaste” to yourself, to remember our basic sameness.

We are all citizens and we can remember this, whichever side of McBama we stand on. Tonight, I’ll be leading community yoga (Guerilla Style!) for Reds, Blues, Greens and Libs and everyone in between and around. Tonight, I want to remember that we all breathe the same air, we all walk the same Earth, we all have the same access to consciousness, we all have the same potential for awareness. We all struggle with the same demons, just the little faces change. Much like Halloween, our foes and fantasies can occupy our minds, or we can acknowledge them, give them what they need, and remember how small they are.

We are bigger than our hopes and fears. We remember this each time we assume an asana, becoming the Eagle, the Warrior, embodying Dogs facing down, up & Sages facing sideways. Maybe you can use your yoga to remember your wholeness and bring that to your community. Bust an Eagle at the polls! Remember your wholeness, the wholeness of the citizen next to you and the wholeness of our communities from small to large. Now that’s Yoga!