There are so many positions in Yoga which are not about movement per se. They are rather directives to use your imagination to stretch or release your body into unoccupied space. The seemingly vacant space above your head or the solid floor beneath your feet or from a supine position to surrender to the vastness of the earth beyond the ground surface.
I have grown in my ability to inhabit these spaces, to cherish them and to gather from them an expanded sense of self as a being who is innately connected with a global consciousness. A consciousness which is always there for me to tap into.
I thought of this when I read Appolo Gonzales' extraordinary column "A Moving Planet." Gonzales, the Director of Social Advocacy at the NRDC, dipped back into his childhood memories in a magnificent bid to inspire people to participate in A Day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels.
When I was a kid and things became too fast paced or stressful for me I would go outside, take off my shoes, and stand with my bare feet on whatever piece of earth was nearest me. I don't know where I learned to do that, but it always made me feel stable. It made me feel still. As I got older I struggled to understand the enormity of the truth that the planet was moving, rotating, revolving and part of the swirling mass of this galaxy, that we were anything but still. I didn't understand how we were not falling off, or how we couldn't feel it moving. It was hard to look beyond my physical experience of being still. Eventually, I came to like the idea of standing there in moments of stress, rooted to something so immense as it moved through the cosmos.
Gonzales's memories reminded me of how tenuous this connection has become, how fragile the earth and the air which support us, and how much we take for granted our dependency on these forces of nature.
On occasion, during a Yoga class, an instructor will remind us that we all a part of a universal heart and suggest that we take a few moments to tap into the energy of this 'heart'. That depending on where we are in that moment of time, we can either share our strength and love or we can draw upon the vastness of this cohesive energy in search of strength and support.
This Saturday is a day for each of us to put aside our own personal problems and fears and to dedicate our movement, personal and collective, to actions which give just a little back, do just a little bit of healing. It is time for us to allow our planet a mere 24 hours of Savasana.
As Gonzales says:
The Truth is and always has been this: we are a Moving Planet. There is no force strong enough to stop the people of this planet from making the positive change we need to live a sustainable existence. Not even fear. A Moving Planet by Apollo Gonzales, NRDC
I invite you all to join me on Saturday and begin your day with the dedication of a Sun Salutation to the Earth.
Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salutation, is a series of 12 postures performed in a single, graceful flow. Each movement is coordinated with the breath. Inhale as you extend or stretch, and exhale as you fold or contract. The Sun Salutation builds strength and increases flexibility.
Strength and flexibility. We are going to need both moving forward. As will our Planet.