Awareness.

One of everyone’s favorite poses in a yoga class is savasana, aka corpse pose, as it is the easiest to perform but in my opinion one of the most difficult to master. Sensory stimulation and external distractions are minimized to help the body relax while mental energy is channeled inward to engage in mindful awareness. But what does awareness look like? What is this state of consciousness we are undertaking?

Visualize a dishwashing or laundry pod; those small capsules of concentrated detergent covered in a thin dissolvable film that breaks apart and dissolves in water. Now imagine that we are these pods and the water is consciousness. Agitation, or heat, is needed for the film to dissolve and release the capsules of detergent in the water. That agitation or heat is our yoga practice (tapas) and the sheath of the dissolvable film is our ego. Our practice helps us turn down or disengage the ego. And those small capsules of detergent are our thoughts. So as we lay in savasana and the residue of our practice washes over us, our thoughts begin to percolate up. If we stay entangled and caught up in our thoughts they will not dissipate or dissolve in the water of consciousness. However, if we can simply observe what arises and stay unattached, the capsules of detergent will dissolve. And our dharma, our purpose, is not lost as now we are soapy water working in unity with consciousness. We can clean the clothes or dishes in harmony with the greater good. Welcome back to the cosmic soup yogis, Namaste.

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Vishvarupa.

I love yoga because of the way it makes me feel. Breath, movement, focus. Pranayama, asana, drishti. With movement, the oceanic-sounding ujjayi breath is long and smooth drowning out the mind stuff, the citta vrtti. In the pose, it becomes more subtle and everything quiets like the surface water on a lake. I am reminded of those rare days living on the southern California coast when the Pacific Ocean resembled Lake Michigan in the days of my youth and I am humbled. I feel smaller than small, greater than great as the ego settles and comes closer to communion with Self.

Every morning I watch the sunrise overlooking the Tennesse River. Existence, ego, consciousness. Samsara, ahamkara, Purusha. It’s calm glassy surface carried by a swift current fluidly moving everything downstream to the source, the ocean. Nothing stays constant yet everything is the same. Dynamic yet everlasting. There is so much excitement, peace, and relief in the realization that this cosmic manifestation is a chance for our conditioned souls to go back to Godhead, back to home. There is no doubt that the place of freedom– of enlightenment– lies within the infinite palace of the heart within all of us. Persevere on yogis, Namaste.