Thursday, May 19, 2011

Making stars

I am thoroughly enjoying "Packing for Mars" by Mary Roach. Blasting off into the cosmos with Mary is exactly what I need right now, and it -- funny how that happens -- goes along so well with some themes that have emerged in yoga in recent weeks.  Here is what is striking me this morning:
Gravity is why there are suns and planets in the first place.  It is practically God.  In the beginning, the cosmos was nothing but empty space and vast clouds of gases.  Eventually the gases cooled to the point where tiny grains coalesced.  These grains would have spent eternity moving through space, ignoring each other, had gravitational attraction not brought them together. Gravitation is the lust of the cosmos.
This is precisely how yoga has been feeling lately, that we could all be these individual particles blowing past each other in space, but somehow the practice exerts a pull on some of us and then those some of us exert a pull on others of us, until -- bam! -- a star is formed, kula is born.  And though we disperse, the gravitational attraction remains and we form and re-form, in the same pattern, over and over.

Naturally, I think I am using my will to arrive at the right place, right time, but from there, something else is in charge, I swear it.  Something beyond will. There's this sense at the start of class of acceleration, then lift-off, like some unseen force is kicking in, something beyond me or the other particles in the room, and boom, off we go into a delectable spin.

I feel like I might be talking a little crazy for some of you, but that's OK.  It sometimes feels a little crazy -- ok, sometimes downright spooky -- to be inside this sensation, inside it repeatedly.  

There's something truly delicious about it, as though we're participating over and over in the creation and expansion of the cosmos itself, as delirious as that sounds.  But it's truly miraculous, and fun, and satisfyingly challenging.

In that context, it's funny to read about people actually packing for space, training for weightlessness and life in a capsule orbiting the planet.  From where I sit this morning, it's crystal clear that for lift-off no NASA required.  To experience the euphoria of space, it just takes that bumping of particles into form -- you and your friends, on the mat, again.

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