I am very happy to share a couple of images submitted for my project by two yogis and friends, Manni and Sue. I’m presenting them together because I really saw these two together thematically. Both are artists, which I feel I can relate to. To my thinking an artist tries to come to terms with the immediacy of being a yogi, or perhaps it is more likely a yogi trying to understand why one should make things. I’m surprised that more artists are not also yogis; a mind that has been taught to think in abstraction can understand yoga very deeply.
I just knew that Manni would apply her unique perspective to my question about understanding an asana. This photo is called “Om Shanti” in reference to the feeling of quiet and peace experienced in the asana. Turning the world upside-down just makes more sense, as she says. It is that kind of willingness and commitment to turning everything upside-down that makes the asana so potent. The addition of the circle becomes quite interesting. We can see a peace symbol, but it’s upside-down which some take to mean the antithesis of peace or, three, non-radioactive alpha particles flying off an aneutronic fusion reaction. Which end is up? It gets a bit crazy. But I don’t think it’s necessarily about either this or that. I see it as coming full circle. Sometimes in life we move away from something; we think we’re done with it, we’ve outgrown it. But you can find yourself (sometimes a loooooong time later!) circling back to it, but this time with a different mind, a different perspective. It’s also possible to come full circle in terms of interest or belief. Sometimes initially we don’t like something and then at a certain point it becomes the thing we like the most. Attraction and aversion (rage & dwesha) might actually be the same sort of thing. Which brings to mind a quotation:
“Hell is other people”.
Hilarious! It can certainly feel like hell to get inside someone else’s head, but yoga teaches us that hell is perhaps our own mind foremost. We often occupy a state of fear, worry, doubt, anxiety, when we can learn to consciously choose something else.
“Four-fifths of our energy is spent in the quarrel with bad taste,
whether in our own minds or in the minds of others”.
˜William Butler Yeats
The obvious connection to me is to Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, considered the ideal human proportions or “Canon of Proportions”. Certainly yoga is often mistakenly thought to be about the perfection of the body, when it is actually about the eventual perfection of the soul. To this end, the body is merely a temporary vehicle of the soul.
I’ve also learned that people often circle back into my life in just such a way, sometimes moving from one sphere into another. It has been interesting for me to connect with others more through the yoga sphere than in other ways that I might have known them. I’m very pleased that Sue circled back into my life in just such a way. I’ve never seen Sue in a Headstand before, but here it is – and it looks perfect and peaceful. I’m so pleased!
Sue’s Headstand is in a very specific spot however. It looks to be private. In this exact spot, she feels stable; other environments maybe a little shaky. We’re all finding our place in the world. When we find stability through an environment or situation, this allows for an inner flowering or unfolding to take place. The Headstand also reminds us that we’re in the world, but ultimately not of it. We take root and then we transcend.
Yoga is life. It’s nothing else.
“You’re just a bunch of molecules until you know who you are”.
Thanks for submitting these photos, Manni and Sue! Inspiring indeed.