Body and Earth

    Grounded. Rooted. A deep unseen fusion between body and earth, earth and body. A weak covalent bond magnetizes thumb and index finger and the energy buzzes up the arms to the shoulders and dissipates down the back. And the neck adjusts to balance the almighty head atop the spine. And when the alignment is perfect, you feel nothing. Or everything? Does energy climb up the torso from the earth, or slip down the nerves into the ground? Or both?

    Both, I think.

    Once you feel the earth, it feels you. It invites movement. On all fours, the body balances. In downward dog, the head hangs and the scapula spreads and the spine stretches into infinite. One energy source tugs the hips into the air and another glues the fingertips and feet to the floor. Awareness of the present grounds you, but awareness of your surroundings simultaneously pulls you away.

    The respite triggers reflection and inward focus. Thoughts, like pesky gnats, flit between the folds of the brain. You try not to wave them away, just catch them in a jar and store them for later.

    Call attention to the breath, someone far away utters. Breath. You ponder its silence and its subtlety. It races through the nostrils, balloons the belly, floods the lungs and puffs the chest. Then it swirls around there for a moment between the collarbones before the air falls back out of the nose and you deflate.

    In the stillness between inhale and exhale you wonder what became of your breath. Will you breathe it again? Or have you given it up to a communal air flow? Whose nostrils, belly, lungs will it explore next?

    For the rest of the practice, you transform. Into a warrior, a dancer, a pigeon, a crow, a tree. The body strengthens and empowers. It treads between comfort and challenge. It stretches and lengthens and twists in an imperfect but fluid choreography. The body inverts, into a headstand, drawing the mind back to the earth.

    Eventually you hear, like a whisper or a faint exhale, savasana. In a release of air and tension, the body reclines and each disc of the spine melts onto the ground. Palms rest upward toward the sky. The gnats somehow escaped the jar you put them in earlier and it’s only in the deafening silence that you hear them buzzing around in your head again. It’s harder now to catch them all. Some flit in and out of the jar. But with control and a steady breath, you quiet the gnats to a murmur, perhaps to silence.

    And in this suspension of time and thought, you exist and rest.

    Then after a short eternity, the voice prompts you once more, and you awaken from your mental slumber. Toes tingle, fingers wiggle. Soon, unrushed, you return to an upright seat, where you began. Maybe hands come to the heart in reflection. Maybe not. Maybe you’ve found a sense of presence and awareness. Maybe not. But if nothing else, your yogi self has explored, and perhaps found a connection. Body with earth, earth with body.


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