The Delight Song Of A New Architecture
The Delight Song of a New Architecture
I started yoga in Hawaii where its embryonic embrace lulled me to sleep with the promise of comfort. Without warning, it picked me up like a great wave and tumbled me. I held my breath and was baptized anew until my head rose and I saw I had been moved. This rebirth was not like my Christian baptism on a Halloween Sunday when I was 38 days in this world.
My daily renewal is embodied; it augurs new motion and life in an alchemical brew old and new. Yoga takes me to a delight song in my bones. Its tune was composed at my birth and comes from a place I once knew. Deep down, it’s my spiritual DNA linking me to Genesis. When I insert ego into this gravity-filled curriculum, I stumble and fall.
Gravity and heat are the only honest teachers I’ve ever had; gravity and heat, the center and periphery of all movement. I surrender to them and open to their shaping no matter how I fail. I do yoga, and with deep breath, hear the delight song of the inner OM inviting me to the only important moment.
All of us continue working our wounded, yet beautiful human projects. It took years to discover this missing link, this balm of body and mind that I’ve caught from a messenger of another plane. I put on the new binding I’m given. I’m alive with will and bend myself to new shapes for transformation. This imperfect project consumes my failures and brands me with hidden divinity while shaping and re-shaping my ends.
Yoga was built upon a permeable Indian cosmology. Its unitary spirituality is presented to us in layers that yoga calls limbs. The eight limbs form a potent physical, non-physical, and metaphysical medicine that Westerners are only beginning to grasp.
“India beyond all doubt possesses a deep underlying fundamental unity, far more profound than that produced either by geographical isolation or political suzerainty. That unity transcends the innumerable diversities of blood, colour, language, dress, manners, and sect.”
This unfamiliar unity of opposites in the ground of yoga confounds the Western drive for Apollonian order and its preference for sequential steps, and clear, logical direction; yet the underlying sense of unity is the ground from which yoga grows. The Western notion of right and wrong – and either or – is foreign to yoga’s pedagogy, for the seedbed of yoga’s experiential presentation is a lived experience composed from threads of grey.
Yoga is birthed in the forge of asana, stilled in the gaze of meditation, embodied in breath and shaped by the yogi’s observance of its counsel. The yogi learns by twisting and turning these threads; their movements engender a matching flexible mentality. Yoga in its many forms is the way; it moves the body along new limbs that open the heart, the hotline to all stories.
Fluid yoga, going to seven years, continues my remaking. Each remaking is connected to another. Born in water, I am nymph turning to dragonfly. My spine is bent low and become rabbit; then I lift to camel, morph to fish, or rise into an ever-watchful sphinx. I evolve once more by going back and yet forward at the same time to my child in his innocent, trusting repose. My evolving is your evolving: inward, backward, downward, within, without, and all.
Your asana is my asana, my bending and shaping is your bending and shaping, your practice of eustress and release morphs into luminous savasana. Your savasana is my savasana, and mine is yours: a common cloud, salty and damp.
YOUR LONGINGS ARE MY LONGINGS
This cloud is a safe home for witnesses and their truths where every joy and sorrow bursts forth in prophetic rain. And as colors bend to make a rainbow, these witnesses bend into their longings. Your longings are my longings.
We breathe into sweet release, and the turning out becomes a roadmap for traveling in. The trail makes little sense; but leads down to the place where gravity rests. Tracking energy for centuries, the Tao notes that water flows to low places. My gravity is your gravity.
My guru said the way out is the way in. Her wisdom comes from a bloodline far to the east, from a practice that bent and molded her matter-mind, from evidence etched into the soles of her feet. Tucked in like a child, she steps on the soles of my feet. Her East meets my West.
Flowing like water to low places, propelled by gravity, I heat and shape and remember the sign next to the door at a yoga studio in Hawaii.
First it will get harder
Then it will get easier
Then it will get different
Then real different
Yoga thrives in the middle of this difference while its center, the axis mundi of change, occurs on the mat. Yoga is an ongoing story of learning; our teachers are ancient reformers here and now where my reformation is your reformation and yours is mine.
Yoga twists our re-formations into new perspectives where we find our unique physiography: lumbar, thorax, and cervical spine rotate, flex, and extend. The witnesses breathe, rest, and rise. Your twisting spine is mine, and my resting is your resting.
I pause in this fluid journey and track my gaze from ground to horizon to sky. A new ascent and descent has me poised to receive. Your receiving is my receiving, and we are but shells holding layers of other Selves.
Moves of the heart are the hotline to all stories, and I promise myself to rewrite each opening. I remain patient for every commencement and know this beginning only echoes deeper layers of the child’s first rising. Back to that first breath, back to the child, back to water birthing life and gathering in low places, back to the heart; I pause, and know I am back to the beginning.
This beginning flows like lava: heating, bending, and shaping. It reforms everyone, twisting them into their unique physiography. They collapse and then rise. Their gaze, a pyramid of discovery, moves from ground to horizon to sky. An ascent takes place. Energy is exchanged. The yogi rests and is transformed.
On the surface, we look the same every day, but like sky in its soft changing our hearts are open and we become different. Marion Woodman, a therapist working below the surface, wrote about transformation in words that accurately describe the yogi’s work.
“A life truly lived constantly burns away veils of illusion, burns away what is no longer relevant, gradually reveals our essence, until, at last we are strong enough to stand in our naked truth.”
CELLULAR MEMORY MAKING
When the yogi trains their body to breathe with ease and move in awareness, and when they learn to arrive at the pose – and life – in equanimity, they move this memory and experience into their body. In this way, the asanas spiritual therapeutic treats the self and moves the body into ease.
At ease, the yogi breathes deeply. Consciousness is built and mind expands. The yogi begins asking bigger questions, and as their mind poses, One-Mind answers.
Yoga’s cellular memory-making creates a new architecture – yogatecture – which reforms the entire system while opening space for growth. This space causes the yogi to re-member their dwelling, their vessel, their spirit, their body. They begin to disengage from dis-ease and learn to de-stress by challenging cultural assumptions. They begin to seek eu-stress rather than distress. They set an intention to live peacefully, and in peaceful living, come to embrace a new truth.
The dwelling of yogatecture is built with tools generated by the yogi’s self-encounter. He and she embody yoga’s blueprint and become the architects of their own house; when this happens, the natural outcome is not just a new building, new body, new mind, or new spirit, but a renewed life-purpose.
In 1969, sliding through the mud at a farm in Woodstock, New York, a lyric captured the shining interior that animates the soul. “We are stardust, we are golden, we are billion year old carbon, and we got to get back to the garden.”
We take note of a long line of yogis fed by the garden and connected to source for nourishment. As golden beings, we breathe and animate the universe to its completion. Our choice is to cooperate or resist.
In class, we lean into cooperation with this greater intelligence and it opens a way to locate our dharma of alignment. Then, a brilliance lights up the fiber of our bodies and tattoos enlightenment upon our stories; its framework is surrender and release.
Yoga expands the mind and invites us to imagine our spines as a great skyscrapers reaching into the sky, so we willingly imagine and engage yoga; if we are lucky, we catch a glimpse of something beyond the skyscrapers’ shadow.
In shadow and in light, we yoga, and our teachers observe. We become co-creators in a new architecture and together we witness the moment when a yogi gives shape to an old blueprint written on a banana leaf.
Behanan, K. T. (1964). Yoga, a scientific evaluation. New York: Dover Publications.
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