Wednesday, January 7, 2009

About Savasana

Tonight the wind outside howls down 9th Avenue, buffeting the sides of the flat and providing ample opportunity to appreciate the roar of the heater. How that noise means I'm warm and safe inside. The flat is cozy and I've just had a very tasty dinner. I'm enjoying sitting with CK, she's working on ideas for the new website for ZCO and I'm writing.

Got back to a yoga class at Prananda tonight. It felt gentle while still getting deeply into some areas. I'm still feeling the shoulder strain, especially in the left one I injured last spring. As frustrating as it is (which is to say as impatient as I feel), I know I need to keep being very gentle with them. I found myself going into adhomukha svanasana (downward facing dog) a lot between other poses, just feeling the relief of stretching my body and releasing the headache that had showed up during work.

Joy threw out a joke about a homework assignment at the end of class, to write a poem called "Sweet Savasana". I may have one in mind. It called to mind for me when Hogen asked me why it is called "Corpse Pose".

I had told him that a corpse is heavy, returning to the earth. There is no longer any tension whatsoever, all of the little anxieties hidden in the muscles are released. A corpse has no worry, no fear, no shame, no anger...

As the Heart Sutra states, "No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no sight, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of sight, no realm of mind consciousness."

Just the body returning to the earth. We mindfully end practice this way, releasing the body from the effort of asana and returning to the breath. That breath, that is the sweetness of savasana. For we lay with the complete release and emptiness of a corpse, yet each expiration of the breath continues to be followed by another inhalation.

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