Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 10: Matryoshkasana

Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Ashtanga Foundations
Instructor: Deb C.
6:30 – 8:15 a.m.

Often during deep Savasana, visuals or thoughts will arise that help me integrate the practice I just had. Today, a couple images bubbled up from my unconscious (or the collective unconscious? There's my old pal Jung again...), one was a visual representation of the kind of perpetual rebirth and exponential growth that we undergo when we are engaged in an ongoing psychological, spiritual and physical practice such as yoga.

This growth can be envisioned as a sort of reverse Matryoshka doll series. We often start out as this little solitary being — simple, solid, sturdy, with thick walls and a tiny bit of space inside. When we embark on transformative work, we'll start to have breakthroughs where that old version of ourselves expands into a slightly larger version. It may be recognizable as you on the exterior, but inside, there's a little more room. Our energetic presence seems to grow a little. People might start to engage with you a little more easily, sparking up interesting conversations in the checkout line at the health food store as you find yourself buying seaweed flakes for the first time.


Then, after you start really practicing yoga 3 or 4 days a week, that "new and improved" version of yourself might suddenly bust out into a whole new version of you, with even more space inside, and a little more beautiful on the outside. You'll start to recognize this additional interior space as you clear out some of the old junk you've been holding on to for years. Remember that guilt you've been carrying around since high school prom? You'll suddenly realize that you have absolutely no use for it and put it out by the curb (or better yet, burn it in the backyard in a shamanic ceremony). Ah, more space!

Now you'll start looking for ways to fill all that extra space. Maybe you'll start reading the Bhagavad Gita or Deepak Chopra, start growing your own food, or start chanting. Whatever it is, you're hungry to fill that space up, but this time you're on a mission to fill it with something worthwhile — something spiritually nutritious.

Next thing you know — BOOM — you've expanded yet again. The difference between this kind of expansion and the kind that's currently afflicting a good part of a world that is gorging itself on junk food and bunk media is that, while you might be getting bigger and bigger energetically — your waistline and credit line are probably shrinking ...along with your grocery bills, liquor store bills, cable bills... gluttony is fattening and expensive. Spiritual expansion is cheap, but the payoffs are priceless. No amount of plastic surgery, tanning or expensive clothes could replicate the glow that you'll be emanating — and you'll certainly bring a little more light not just into your own life, but into the lives of everyone you touch.


For me, it's wonderful to think that within us all is a series of infinitely expanding, progressively more beautiful and radiant versions of ourselves waiting to bust out. We might need to do a lot of tough work to crack through those first few, but as we continue working, the shells get thinner and thinner just as our power and drive to transform is ever increasing.



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