Monday, January 31, 2011

Taking Flight

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of devoting two-and-a-half hours to a practice, a Journey to the Core, with Ana Forrest. A strong, stoic, yet gentle and affable woman, Ana led an absolutely full room of yogis to find their strength, find their truth in the core of their bodies (not just your abs, but form the head to the coccyx, the house of the chakras). The room was full with the sound of ujjayi breath, a veritable ocean of sound and power.

She encouraged everyone, at the beginning of the journey, to focus on a point in our bodies that needed healing or just more considered attention. I picked my upper shoulders since they have been feeling tense lately.

After buzzing our way through the chakra areas (with Bharamari or Humming Bee Breath), we focused on our point. Immediately my mind envisioned the base of wings across my upper back.

I breathed into my fallen wings.

Throughout the class, we came back to our point. It was a fluid, strong, focused, deep, beautiful practice. My body was exhausted but also replenished with breath and an incredible, soulful 'workout' (I hesitate to call yoga a workout, it's much more than that, it can be an experience).

And today, I am still stuck with the image of wings. Human beings with their fallen wings. Tragic and beautiful, the legacy of the human back.

And so I leave you with a poem written by my friend Adam McGee which uses this very image and has stayed with me since I read it some years ago.


Naked chest to chest,
I reach the perfect V’s
of an outspread thumb & forefinger
to cup the plunging curves
of your shoulder blades.
In the field around us,
dew reflects a zodiac
of fractured light.
Last night in my dream,
you grew triumphant wings
from the ridges beneath my hands.
With the grace of a storm
which comes from nowhere,
you beat down the grasses
with your miracle of lift,
leaving me astonished & below you
as you whipped an arc
through the brightening sky.
When I awoke, I touched
the hard bones of your back
& closed the distance between us.
Now, as I hold you,
I need to purge this guilt:
that on waking, I gave thanks
for gravity.

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