I want to teach you about a couple of yoga concepts, and my own theory of the threefold relationship we need to understand in order to respond to the demands of our lives. I want to do this through a series of asana practices. These will appear as a series of short practices which should help you to reflect on the relationship you have with yourself, other people and the more-than-human-world, and to understand how these relationships are not different from one another.
Begin by coming into a seated position, cross legged. You can equally well sit in a chair. It’s important that you don’t force anything, but see if you can use your awareness of your position in space to allow you to feel for a desire, a motivation, within your own system, to find a more upright, more aware seated position. Rest your shoulders down and back. Rest your facial muscles, your neck by balancing the head. Pause and see what else needs to rest. You’re upright and aware, but resting. Then see if you can let your breath become more rested, more like you breathe when you’re asleep, or resting deeply. Maybe sigh a couple of times. Maybe increase the depth by squeezing the abdominal muscles slightly, quite subtly, and then by lifting the pelvic floor.
Then increase awareness of your thoughts. Consciousness reflecting upon itself. See your awareness becoming aware of itself. Watch it reflect, drift to elsewhere, draw it back, and go quiet for a moment, just watching yourself watching yourself. The regress is an egress, opening to now. Be here now. Be now here. Be nowhere. Just sitting.
Now stretch your sides, one at a time. Gently, consciously, see if you can feel as subtly as possible where the stretch is taking place, from the hips to the finger tips. One side for about three breaths, and back into the first practice of awareness, and then the other. Now twist slowly round to the right. Awareness of the arch in the low back, of each vertebra turning on the one beneath, of the position of the upper spine relative to the lower spine. Not leaning, turning, broad shouldered, narrow waisted, squeezing as you turn, less space in the abdomen, using the space in the region around the heart, being honest about this twist, at least three breaths, then return and repeat to the other side.
Now take your hands behind. Straighten your legs as much as you want to, half way, all the way, but without losing awareness, a grace in your movements as though you are being moved by awareness, by love, itself. Watching it move you as you open your chest. Maybe even lift up pursvottanasana, heart lifted as an act of trust, of faith, that cooperation is more powerful than competition, that love is more powerful than exploitation. Feel one, two, three or more breaths here. Finally bow forwards. You can be cross legged or with straight legs. You are bowing to take your attention inwards, honouring your own experience. Give yourself an affirmation, or a mantra, or a resolution: I have the intention to open to, and to submit to, love, to compassion. Come into as conscious as possible an experience of yourself now, here, nowhere. Just bowing. Then again come back to sitting. To just sitting. To open minded, open hearted, embodiment. You are this body. You are not in this body. You are this body and this body is inseparable from the world around it. It cannot be sealed off. You are a part of all else and all else is a part of you. Realise this in silence. The take this knowledge and apply it to the rest of your day, the rest of your life.