Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bowing Down and Touching the Earth

At the end of a yoga practice we often place our hands together and bow our heads down to touch the earth.

The simple act of placing the palms together could be a ritual of yoking the energies of the self into one place of pure presence. Have you ever felt like there are layers of you in different places? For example you are having a conversation with someone and your mind is involved with someone else... or worse yet... yourself?
Bowing could be surrendering the ego.

I have found this gesture useful. I am happy to come out of the drivers seat for a moment in time (because this isn't an easy thing for me!). I am pleased to use the moment as a dissipation of my thoughts. There is a possibility there to be opened by the moment and able to let go of self referencing.

I end my practice with this even if I am alone. Sometimes the act means that I am bowing to the center of my heart. It is always quiet there, vast, confident and completely free. It is the teacher.

Touching the earth with my forehead is also a reminder to me that I am part of the natural world. The earth shed a piece so that I could discover myself... and she will take my vehicle for exploration back some unknown day. It is easy to feel this in The Yoga Studio when I am gazing out at the great granite rock that blesses our space. This thought helps me stay aware of interconnectedness.

For some people this gesture might be a little weird feeling or even frightening? In a low grade, lukewarm sort of way. Maybe it even brings other sticky stuff? Mild aversion or repulsion or... whatever? Nothing is wrong with that.
Maybe there is a possibility that surrender or bowing in humility is not a part of our culture. Ritual or creating emphasis on the sacred may not be either.

If anything brings up peculiar emotions or brings up little waves of questioning - it is always skillfull to look deeper into the root of what is happening. This is the job of a yoga practitioner. To get to the root of things, record the data, find the closest thing that makes sense to the truth in that moment...
and prepare for that truth to perhaps have the fluid quality of change.