The Alignment of Essence

By Martha Marcom

We capitalize the names of the asanas, even in their English translations. I’m speculating that is so not only to honor the power of asana, but because they are analogous to places, as in we’re going to visit Marichasana today, right after we depart from Janu Sirsasana. Just as in traveling to geographic destinations, when we go there it will not be quite the same as last time. Even visiting familiar locations, there’s always the possibility of discovering some new aspect of the place we’ve not noticed before.

Your relationship with your Triangle will change with repeated visits over time, as you come to know the sacred geometry of the pose. After a long-term, dedicated practice, the pose will become intimately familiar, and you’ll begin to embody Trikonasana as a native of the place. It becomes a destination you can go to reliably for specific aspects of awareness and awakenings, yet it retains some mystery.

Each of the asanas of hatha, the physical aspect of yoga, has endless depths. There is always the possibility to deepen a pose, and to plumb those depths. The breath alone in your postures could be a life-long journey, as could increasingly subtle aspects of alignment and presence.

In ashtanga, there is a map and a specific journey through the poses. In hatha classes as taught at Yoga on High, one pose could be explored throughout a class in many different ways, or you might travel to a destination pose, Sarvangasana for example, by means of many other poses that open the body in preparation for an in-depth experience of it.

Savasana, Corpse Pose, has been called the most difficult of all asanas. Access to the intricacies of the place requires time, intention and attention. Convention wisdom holds that the Ashtanga practice wrings you out so that, when you lie down, you drop into Savasana’s depths. Our YOHI hatha teachers really know how to create the conditions for a great Savasana and have taught us ashtangis about setting up for the pose with care. With an optimal set-up, we have a better chance to access that ultimate destination, the very essence of our being, delight, and unity.

Imagine if we all allowed ourselves time each day to completely relax the physical body and touch into our essential Selves, beyond the apparent duality of the world. And what a gift Savasana would be for children to have—a restful home base that could offer them an expanded experience of themselves. What sublime means for all of us to stay steady in a challenging world. Explore that realm that is Savasana for your Self! And ask me or your teacher to help you set up for it if this is a difficult pose for you.