Friday, May 6, 2011
Copyright Lance Kinseth, Cloud Valley/Unkan, 2011
SEATED ON THE MATT, we might be encouraged to allow the chest to softly rise and lift away from the lower body, and we might sense the body to lighten. In Vrksasana [Tree pose], with arms extended upward, there may a strong perception of a lightness of being, as if being drawn upward. In savasana, the body at rest might be sensed to sinking in to the matt, but the body may also be sensed to be floating. Beyond yoga, in taichi and qigong, hands may be described as floating up like clouds, and some days our arms seem to be drawn up rather than lifted.
On the matt, the body is endlessly falling through space as an aspect of the Milky Way galaxy, well over a million miles per hour. Even sitting still, the body floats imperceptibly above the floor. Far less than microscopic—at the atomic level—there is repulsion between the atoms of the floor and the atoms of the body.
Yoga practice often begins by encourages psychological transformation to a “lightness of being”—a coming to the matt and letting go of the everyday, and aspiring to be present in the moments of practice. A spiritual sense of light, anchored through the image of prana/energy, may also be explored, in which the practice is sensed to energize body-mind-spirit, so that a person refreshes and restores and rebalances, and glows or emits energy.
At night, we look to the moon [chandra] and see the reality of a multi-quadrillion ton object circling the Earth. And by day, the Earth does the same in its orbit about the sun [surya], which, in turn, orbits the galactic center. There is a relationship between gravity and lightness, within the body and within the cosmos. As a force, gravity is extremely weak as compared to electric and strong forces within the atom, where the nucleus of the atoms spins at perhaps 150 million mph and takes up less than a 100,000th of the space, making the mass of these building blocks of matter is extremely small and “light.” Atoms are spaceous and their “solidity” is due to profoundly energized movement.
A sense of lightness is restful. Burden is put down through the flow of the practice, and consummates in savasana. In restorative-yin yoga, “becoming light” permeates the practice—releasing, opening, listening, deeply relaxing. The body-mind-spirit is admonished to be receptive, to open and to listen—to lighten and receive.