22 May 2006

Salt-In-My-Eyes Asana

In class yesterday, as in life, I was reminded that I am good at some things, and not so great at others. The not so good are the one-legged balance poses, which for some reason I can do much better on my left leg than my right leg.

I do try to fall out of my one legged poses with some semblance of grace - as if I were a ballet dancer just touching down as part of a good Mark Morris dance. I'm sure no one is fooled. But at least I don't crumple to the floor. And I am no longer embarrassed – so that's progress!

The good is Triangle Pose (TRIKANASANA), which is my favorite pose in the yoga canon. Every muscle seems to become involved in this pose; legs, arms, groin, chest, neck and head are all moving together here. When I plant my feet and turn my head to follow my arm pointing up to the stars, I can feel the energy of Gaia streaming up from far below into my legs, then my torso, and then straight up my arm and out into the Universe.

Of course, being in a Bikram class, I also get the gentle rain of my own sweat dripping from my arm down into my upturned eyes, reminding me with some saltiness that while I might be one with the Universe, I am also simply a sweaty human being.

Perhaps that, more than being One With Everything, is the more important point of Bikram. Sweating, gasping, and quivering on our mats, we are uniquely reminded of and grounded in our own humanness. You can't run before you can walk, and I imagine I can't be One With Everything until I figure out how to be one with myself.

Triangle Pose (a/k/a Salt-In-My-Eyes Asana) lets me look at the stars - but doesn't let me forget what I am. And for that I am grateful.

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