My favorite yoga asana of all time is probably Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose). I also love Camel Pose, Urdhva Dhanurasana (Upward Facing Bow Pose) and backbends in general. And I'm a big fan of handstands, though I'm still too scared to do them away from the wall (or, more accurately, my dresser). Recently, however, Savasana ("Dead Man's Pose") has been climbing my asana affinity charts. But not for rest or even absorption of the benefits worked towards during the practice - the reasons you might guess I'd enjoy it. I look forward to the obligatory end-of-class Savasana because I'm savoring a new courtship with my subtle body (the energy body we each have, made up of "nadis" instead of nerves), and this shape provides the optimal conditions for subtle body work and awareness.

We don't pay enough attention to the energy we're made up of. Until recently, I only paid attention to mine when walking under streetlights at night. (If you know me well, you know I have a strange capacity to turn streetlights on or off when I pass by.) Or on accident, perhaps when stumbling upon a particularly moving song. But lately I'm drinking the energy of life in a little deeper. And Savasana is tasting a little sweeter as a result. (As an example, I've been working on recruiting my focus to create spheres of concentrated energy in my open palms in Savasana - the successful manifestation of which I find exciting and extremely gratifying - and I'm getting pretty good at it!) This Saturday, though, my Savasana game was taken to a whole new level. Let me tell you about Kundalini.

Kundalini is the term used by some yogis to refer to our life force, housed at the base of the spine, which can be awakened with practice (via breathing, meditation, chanting and asana) to rise up through and engage our seven chakras. I experienced my first Kundalini yoga class on Saturday. The vibrations have mellowed out somewhat since I left the Portrero studio, but I still smell the rose oil our teacher had us rub between our hands before we left. And I still feel high as a kite. 

The class was unlike any yoga class I've ever attended. We did a lot of chanting, waving around, shimmying and singing. The urge to burst into laughter was pretty strong at the beginning (for example, when we were instructed to shimmy WHILE doing figure eights with our hips), but I did my best to avoid eye contact with my fellow teacher trainer and I soon surrendered to the weirdness. (This class was not the place to be self conscious.) We did a "happy dance," we practiced different breathing techniques, we shimmied some more and we sent a few praises to the sun, all while internally repeating the mantra "Sat Nam," meaning "truth is my name." We abandoned all concerns, and before I knew it we were done.

Finally, it was time for Savasana. Exhausted from the breathing and dancing, I laid back, closed my eyes and happily emulated a dead man. 

Shortly thereafter, ninety minutes' worth of meditation and Kundalini-stirring declared itself as power beyond measure. To my surprise as I lay there, energy coursed through me like a charging river. I already felt electric there, in the silence of our meditation, but then our (beautiful!) teacher began playing a loud gong. The electricity turned up ten notches. Maybe the craziest I've ever felt, I swear I could hear something celestial ringing true through the vibrations. For a few minutes, my soul sang.

I haven't been the same since Saturday, when I learned how to really pay attention to the universe. Somehow, I feel so alive it almost hurts. I want to sing. I want to dance. I want to smile at everyone I see. Maybe the new San Francisco heat is partially to blame, but, as the yogis say, "something shifted in me" that morning as my subtle body awakened. And I'm not looking back. 

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