In an anatomy lesson with Leslie Kaminoff this week, he discussed gravity…the silent, all pervading force that is pulling every atom of matter strongly towards the center of the earth. Gravity is good. It provides stability.
The pull, which is constant, everywhere, and seemingly everlasting, can sometimes make us feel heavy and tired. Like we are made of cinder blocks, not light organic yogi handstand material. Whether we are feeling light or heavy at the moment, we all seem to be on a search for a relief from the enduring pull towards the dark center.
The obvious question is… If the force is so strong, why do we not in fact get sucked into the core mass of the planet? The answer lies in our perpetual quest to be ‘relieved’ of the gravitational pull, aka LEVITY, which (my fave ‘take’ on it) has been called “the pursuit of lightness of foot and heart” by Elder Lindhal.
In yoga and meditation, the simple seated asana (which, if you sit regularly, you know can be one of the most challenging of all yoga postures to maintain with integrity) we want to find a balance between these two natural forces. We want our pelvis and lower body to descend and our spine, torso, neck and the bowling ball that sits atop to ascend–effortlessly. Often, we have the opposite happening; we’ve got knees and groins ascending. Our chest, shoulders and spine are heavy and collapsing. And somehow we find ourselves TRYING SO HARD to just sit peacefully. WTF? These common tendencies cause inner discomfort, anxiety, torture, etc. Discomfort in meditation = inner turmoil and deafening ‘bad’ voices. Soooo not nice and defeating the purpose of meditation all together.
What is utterly fascinating about gravity and levity is that they are forces of nature…not of human doing. We simply have to surrender to the divine order of the Universe, turn in, refine or connection to the earth, become a willing participant and vessel or the life force energy to move through and within us and trust nature to do her thing. We have no authority over the forces, only the deep inner wisdom that, if we follow it, guides us to participate skillfully with them.
This principle of aligning and co-participating with the forces of nature does not just apply to the seat of meditation. The laws of nature live within us and apply to all of the actions that we take in our bodies whether on a yoga mat or out in the ‘real world’. In yoga we call it ‘root down to rise up’, or ‘create balanced action of muscle and organic energy’, or ‘press into the earth and feel the rebounding energy arise within you’. In life we call it equanimity. It’s all gravity pulling us to the center and holding us steady as levity (also called support) counters it by pushing an ascending energy up through us with as much force. It is ultimately balanced, divinely designed, and absolutely F#*~ING BRILLIANT!
We’re exploring gravity, levity, and ‘lightness of foot and heart’ all week in my asana classes. Expect more pranayama and meditation too! If I don’t see you on a mat…..May the Forces be with you.
PEACE & LEVITATION,