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Yoga Play Time: How to Find Your Light

Dharma Kitchen

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Yoga Play Time: How to Find Your Light

Carrie H

Ever have an experience in a group setting that just shifts everyone in it, and raises the collective vibration?  I don't believe this phenomena is exclusive to yoga, but since we are in the Dharma Kitchen, that's what we are talkin' about here. 

Yesterday, I took advantage of what feels like an increasingly rare ability to get to Sunday morning's class with Silver, which I fondly refer to as "yoga church," with my tongue only a bit in-cheek. She started off by saying that before we even walk into a building, our vibration enters first: such a cool thought. She then began to talk about how small children instantly raise the vibration of everyone they encounter with their joy, purity and innocence, an observation grounded in the reality of a family gathering she held at her house the day before. I knew this meant we were in for some play time, but what I didn't expect—and that's the best part—was the degree to which we would support each other, and how that shared vibration would give us all a happy buzz. This shouldn't have been such a surprise, but it was, probably because I really needed the reminder.

The first concentrated encounter with this sensation with a variation on pincha mayurasana, scorpion style. I got upside down and then once I was stable, one person supported the top of the feet (April) and another person (Jim) supported the sacral area, which enabled my spine to both extend and stabilize, simultaneously, so I could then bend my knees in an effort to try to touch my toes to the top of my head—the full expression of the pose. Once I let the knees drop, which was a scary sensation, I lifted my head up, pumped my chest back, and experienced a sense of elation I hadn't felt in months.

          Jess Dellmyer-Yusko, one of the amazing people I practice with regularly, in pincha scorpion.            

          Jess Dellmyer-Yusko, one of the amazing people I practice with regularly, in pincha scorpion.            

No amount of practicing a pincha scorpion with the feet pushing against and creeping down the wall could have yielded these results, because they were the fruit of collaboration and trust. There are magical, intuitive connections made among people who practice any kind of collaborative, physical activity together on a regular, dedicated basis. When two people you trust implicitly are helping to support your body and expand it into something new and transcendent, well, there really aren't many words for how that feels. Sometimes, the best thing about being upside down is that you just can't see what's going on exactly—you have to rely on how it feels. People around me were excited; I sensed, based on how bent my knees were, that my feet were not terribly far from my head. We say in yoga it's not about the pose, and it's true. (The parsing of the anatomical particulars here are in effort to provide something visual for the non-practitioner who may be reading.) What this pose enabled me to feel in my body was pure exhilaration and freedom, and that's bigger and greater than whether or not my feet and head met or ever will meet. It's also fleeting, but that's another lesson in non-attachment. Smartly, Silver encouraged us to be happy and playful about what happened, but not to talk too much about it afterward, 'cause kids wouldn't do that, right?

Yet here I am, still talking about it, because sharing is important to me. We finished up class with our mats lined up, two by two, lying down head to head. I had Krissy on the other side, and we were guided through three successive urdvha dhanurasanas (also known as a full wheel), and the final one was the real kicker. Silver demonstrated what she was offering: walk our wheels in toward each other and give each other a high five. I couldn't imagine that I could do that; it takes tremendous strength and courage to lift a hand up off the ground when you are upside down and I have trouble moving around in this pose and articulating it in an advanced way. And looking at my friend upside down instantly made both of us laugh on the first two go-rounds. Could I keep it together and go with it? Guess what? I lifted up my left hand and high-fived her. It was the fastest high five on record, and it was exactly as Silver described it: you don't want to leave your friend hanging. 

We finished class in savasana with our crowns—and the rest of our bodies—beaming energetically at each other, collectively buzzing with the feeling of love, light and openness. Silver reminded us we are "light raisers," another way to describe light workers. I left the class so bright, I felt as though everyone I encountered would need sunglasses.

Before I left for class that morning, John, my child-at-heart husband, had suggested we drive to the beach and boardwalk so the kids could check out the rides in the off season. He had texted me while I was in class, and I wrote back with an emphatic "OK!" This would mean a 2 and a half hour ride in the car. One way. And leaving after yoga meant we didn't get there until after 1 o'clock, after pit stops for snacks and bathroom breaks. And boy, was it windy on the Ocean City boardwalk when we arrived, but the kids ran up and down the boardwalk with wild abandon and went on reduced-fare rides and ate pizza and salt water taffy and ice cream. "I'm fully aware of how ridiculous this is, that we'd be in the car longer than we'd be here. Thanks for going with me on this," says John.  How could I not? The Universe had lined up this day. I couldn't say no to such frivolity and fun. 

Ocean City, New Jersey. August 2014. Waiting for the light. 

Ocean City, New Jersey. August 2014. Waiting for the light. 

I woke up early several mornings in a row to see the sunrise last summer while on vacation in this same place, Ocean City. The beautiful predictability of the sunrise is not a small thing; its light is there every day, just like our own. We just don't always see it. But once we do, it catches the light in our midst, illuminating everything and everyone it touches.