What Asana Means to Me
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
In one of the more beautifully twisted workings of fate, it was not the life-promoting force of existence that began my lifelong love affair retreating in full pursuit of a process in positioning I later understood as becoming my entrance back into life, the sacred practice of asana. Sometime after a college graduation about which I cared so little the registrar had to reach out to an extended family member for an address to forward the “honor of honors” as my menial vocabulary suffices in translating the fancy idea of a diploma at that particular academic institute, I found myself dancing with a new form of self-punishment served up to the alluring community of “real” yogis I’d seen trickling into my neighborhood Whole Foods after flowing forth in a squishy seep of sweaty bodies oozing from the hallowed grounds guarding the street’s coveted cornered feature alone along the edge standing in as a single solidarity mounted over the area serving as its end dedication in the form of a certified Bikram studio.
The mother of whatever boy I’d found to be losing myself within at the time, a woman who had stepped in during a particularly wayward course in my youth, took me to Bikram in her loyalty to a strict regimen of cardiovascular training enmeshed with a subtle suggestion of functional fitness carried out in various methods of resistance work. This mother had served as the life model I grew to respect in my recovery navigating the socially secret co-mingling of a life within the tangled tendrils of a relentless eating disorder. By the time I met her I was trying to unravel myself from the intrusive darkness I had allowed to take over my life, having conquered me beneath the weight of the decade spent developing the gravity in its strength that suddenly outgrew me reaching outside my control to reveal itself in some of the previously secret rituals I had practiced habitually in my religious following of the disordered way of life.
The day I followed my then-guru to a promising new workout concept, I teetered between a precarious place of noncommittal. While I wasn’t certain that I really wanted to live, I hadn’t yet chosen to not die when I was met with the unusual new practice succinctly thrown for me to maneuver my way around throughout the sweat-soaked rhythmic rush pushing to meet more than two dozen designs squeezed out of a series of soul-wrenching contortions endured by the body. For me, it wasn’t so much the heat that was being over done but the oppressive weight surrounding me in the resounding force of groupthink elevated to invade the immediate space around me I had come to rely on in holding me with the promise of fresh life available to continue onward just by breathing the promise of abundance fresh air. That space had become vital in my journey through life, sometimes feeling it’s steady hold around me remained the single thing of which I was aware, my certainty in that one thing empowered me with a reason to move forward, I only needed one reason to continue and there were more than a few times where the certainty of that space remained the sole reason alone that got me through the current pulling me to leave the flow of life.
My first taste of the asana flow left me clinging to the reduced stores of existence I had remaining after the depletions from my long-term process without commitment to existing that led to my precariously squandered gift of life in all its precious abundance. The asana practice I found rolling through the musty cloud stuck unmoved in the stuffy room created a current of life pulsating past around me with the swaying motion of recycling inhale and exhale sashaying ever so slightly to and fro, drowning beneath the force of my own contribution to the systematic flow heaving grandiose sweeping sighs of desperation sinking around me in heavy sweltering gusts rushing space from the area immediately touching my current of movement, I struggled for air when the hot cloud rolled in over the void of my breath faltering to fill space for my precious openness holding the sanctity of life that ultimately, held the key to discovering my way through asana. The breath, in time led me deeper down the path of recovery, eventually inspiring secretive late night asana practices behind the privacy of closed doors that more closely resembled a promotion of life-instilling grace. It was many years later that I discovered the true power hiding back in the place for life’s richest source of unbridled purity safely nestled away in the stillness of those prescribed presentations of postures. But I left that day closer than I’d ever felt to the cusp ending my life, a newly devoted follower of yoga, entering the world strictly under the terms of remaining a Savasana Skipper.
Since I stepped out of limbo and decided I want to live, the meaning of asana has taken on profound new meanings soaring beyond the limiting veil of unknowingness previously keeping me from effectively seeing any open space hanging in the sacred place of stillness. Asana is not a strength training workout or a musculoskeletal exercise, while these two consequences often accompany me upon rising from my mat to make my entrance back into the world unburdened and optimized from the practice of asana, instead I focus my beneficial findings in obtaining a restoration back to the natural order of things where we suddenly remember contentment, satisfaction, and understanding. Asana has become a place, the sacred point marking the milestones I’ve come to recognize along my journey back to myself. It stands for a point in my progress of becoming more human, both serving to remind me of a destination I must achieve for the future, and acting as the road map guiding me directly to the point I wish to find. The place itself, it can’t be touched, transferred, or translated through any means afforded us in extensions we reach by way of words. Everywhere that does not exist as the place, beyond it, before it, around it, we can be there, but we can’t be in asana, we can’t possess it, we can simply hold it.
Experiencing the space I discovered amidst the practice of asana revealed to me a new expression of hope for life concentrated to a penetrating intensity of unfiltered truth resonating along a wavelength unraveling in a rhythmic succession aligned in coils of codes laid out in patterns of primal knowing, this seemed to find the ground for my life to suddenly become my own, resting solemnly in the place it had nestled comfortably, rousing to explore me upon my descent to its isolated depths in between life, deciding it wanted to leave with me and in a single sweeping gesture we rose together suddenly equipped to join the intention we’d both finally connected in our rightful place coming to life, swelling as one from the heart of our togetherness reaching out from the entire realm echoing in potential existence. It feels the same when I find myself approaching the safety steeped along the depths encountered midway through the process carrying the body’s machine of function and motion through the transformative sequence back to a place where it is once again the perfect expression of life. Following through the ride passing along looping coils of each posture wound together in a lengthy process flowing through the series of intentionally positioned destinations situated to accommodate the momentary presence of your body’s reinstalling opportunity brushing past. The space we receive our return back to our rightful place isn’t necessarily a home that we find ourselves taken back to, home is the source behind us from which we came into creation, we embark on our journey holding the gift of life with the sights set in response to how close that defining idea of home resembles the version inspiring the force of spirit within you pushing your pursuit forward to create your own rendition of the concept. It is a source of peace, a promise of certainty, taking us back to something familiar, something we have learned we can count on, it is or most dependable source of life that we have to remind us exactly who we are and where it is that we’re supposed to be in this world. It remains the sole existing secret whispered undetectable as we stand amidst the guarantee of its presence overshadowing our journey back into the twisted ways of the world passing the usual swoops and sways riding out the process of postures positioned in a habitual route of a routine journey that takes you on a sacred flight of restorative undoing with every pursuit down the winding road. Somewhere in Savasana, this is where the greatest truth seems to lie, as a recovering Savasana Skipper I still anticipate the end of class eager and ready to jump back to the rush of life but with the dedicated self-surrender releasing back to the beginnings behind life, I can hold myself in the space between the breath that has proved to forever hold me strong in the state of life.
Asana has risen to stand alone in delivering exception to a world where the only inviolable promise made of life is in the guarantee we will not be granted exception to the laws governing our navigation in existence. The world is perpetually a system in motion. We are moved by the energy of existence as long as we possess the potency injected to penetrate our beings with the flowing force rushing us into life. The surrounding context of overarching time in which our experience develops forward as a production leading into the future while tracking the path of its preceding enabling introduction laying the grounding defining placement among life as the fundamental introduction leading to the alignment of events and circumstances colliding in the experience unwinding into the expression of life. Asana exists as the only opportunity where the preservation of space remains impervious to the relentless surge life’s interacting forces flood forth running off the momentum of heavy flow pulsating as existing life. Asana gives us a point of reference at which we can momentarily grasp an awareness of place rooted in the context of that position. We cannot possess it, we can simply share the sanctity of space it allows us to behold as we move through the structure containing the serenity bound to the solid softness sourcing the raw spark bringing natural order back to the resettling rightfully correcting all participating items moved correctly to being alive.