#nothingisordinary: A Love Letter to Asana
By Linda Cassidy, February, 2019
#nothingisordinary: I’ve been using this hashtag a lot lately in my Instagram account. I like it because it speaks to a central experience of awareness: every living thing is absolutely unique. There is not and never can be a single exception to this rule: the sparrow that pecks at my bird feeder is as non-repeatable as the chihuahua sleeping by my feet or the tree I photographed yesterday. I would know my daughter by the shape of her left ear. Everything in nature (prakriti) is as non-replicable and non-replaceable as you are; no more and certainly no less. Nature has made a heavy investment in your uniqueness: millions of years of evolution have come together to form the nexus of miraculous wonder that is you, and your beautifully particular constellation will never grace the world again.
Yet it’s so easy to forget this in our everyday life. We become fond of our opinions and viewpoints. We get ensnared in dualistic thinking: we want to be right, so we assert our ideas, argue about them and squander our energy trying to get others to agree with us. So much human discourse is about defending our territory! We tend to forget that these territorial boundaries are all part of a self-made and illusory map, all samsara. And, ultimately, they make us small.
I love asana because it invites us into a space where dualistic boundaries fall away and we enter the paradox of the non-dual. In asana practice, we get to be both the observer and the observed, the field and the knower of the field (purusha), the hawk gliding through the sky and the sky itself, the breather and that which is being breathed. As we pin our attention with loving detail to the living form we inhabit, we learn to expand into the wider miracle of our being. That miracle resides in the movement of our muscles, the pull of apana in the bones and the rise of prana in our breath-stream, but it doesn’t end there. The concentration we bring to the body in every moment of asana flips our experience of it inside out until we can no longer say just where it/we begin and end.
For me, this is the greatest of the many gifts offered by asana practice. I get to step outside my small, constrained, self-protective self and sometimes glimpse, for the briefest of moments, the boundless Self that merges with all existence.
If we’re paying attention, we might even get to “touch life as it is arising” and see the whole of our being for the unified, fluid, co-existent miracle that it is. (Rodney Yee: Yoga the Gift of Life.)
So each time you get on your mat, you’re knocking on the door to the miraculous. #nothingisordinary about that.
I love you, asana ❤️