Chapter 15 – The Supreme Self
Yoga Teacher – Govind Das
Before today’s class someone asked me what am I going to do at Day 19. Since I’m on day Day 15, I can’t say that I am 100% sure what I’m going to do at Day 19. But I suspect that I’ll just keep going. The personal little trick this experiment played on me was to jump start my asana practice and to use the blog as a way to hold me accountable. Sure it’s fun to write and to share with others but this has helped me to see where the blockages are in my practice and how best to work through them.
I’ve said many times and I’ll say it again – the only way to get through your obstacles in your practice is to simply show up and do the practice anyway. Even if you really don’t feel like it just show up and practice with sincerity. That’s it. That’s all that’s required. Honestly, I don’t think God cares if you’re struggling or if your own stuff is getting in your way. That’s your own shit. Just show up anyway. It’s through the repetition that we notice the patterns actually start to change. If we are sporadic and not dedicated one way or another it shows. This is why finding what works for us is truly essential. Starting with a little dogma is good to get you going but then take that and find your own flavor.
In today’s class Govind Das reminded us of the meaning of savasana. I hadn’t heard a teacher talk about it in sometime and when you stop to really consider it’s origins it’s pretty far out. Savasana means “corpse pose.” In an exaggerated sense it gives us pause and reminds us of our impermanent nature that is line with all universal laws. Our bodies will die someday. Everyone we know, someday will die. So the application of this pose settles us into that peace by putting our bodies close to the earth. Now in a more day to day application the pose symbolizes death in the sense of dying after we perform our practice only to renew again even stronger. You perform a strong practice for 80 minutes, you sweat, breathe, maybe dance and then all of that tapas work is done and you just fall into the earth like a pile of ash. Then you are reborn having worked out your karmas. Over and over again – we do our practice or live our life, then we die and get to do it all over again and again and again.
It’s taking savasana to the extreme but it is important to note where savasana occurs in the sequence of hatha yoga.
Chapter 15 is an esoteric chapter in that there are many paradoxes. At one point it supports a merging with Brahaman and the notion that we are all one and in another breath it states that Krishna and the atman are indeed separate, even after death.
Krishna says in Verse 7 “An eternal part of me enters into the world, assuming the powers of action and perception and a mind made of prakriti. When the divine Self enters and leaves a body it takes these along as the wind carries a scent from place to place.”
Do we really have any idea where are going next? Why not operate under the notion that our souls are eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss? What’s the downside exactly? Additionally, do you feel like you’ve incarnated at the very moment in these times for a reason? I say yes because it helps to shed light on your dharma. I feel like I’m here at this time for a reason and it’s my duty to strip away the things that are getting in the way of realizing that reason. That is the nature of the Supreme Self in life.
At any moment I can enter into savasana, literally or figuratively. That deep surrender after we’ve put forth effort helps us to hold the mirror to ourselves. Only we can decide if we’re making progress or not. That’s the bit of self actualization and self realization that the divine gives. We are granted grace but will we use it? I look back on all my misgivings and all my mistakes and wonder how I didn’t accept the grace I was given. These are the paradoxes of life, practice, yoga, God and the material world.
Now…who to practice with on Day 16…hmmmmm