Turning on the Lights

I remember the moment I knew with firm conviction that I would dedicate myself to asana practice in a major way.  It was a summer afternoon in Manhattan.  I had just finished taking class and I was walking to catch the crosstown bus.

I looked like just another person walking down Third Avenue, but inwardly I felt completely lit up, alive with an energy that was sweetly pulsing throughout my entire body. It was as if I were a string of lights around a Christmas tree that had just been plugged in. I was compelled to just be with the experience. I found the nearest place to sit which happened to be a concrete landing outside of an office building.  I paused for a while, enjoying this extraordinary state of being. Then I wrote down what and how I was feeling.

More than 20 years later that image, and the feeling that gave rise to it, has stayed with me. It has become more familiar over the years in varying degrees. I recognize it not only as a cool after-effect of practice but as a tangible reminder that through asana we are awakening consciousness in the body.

There is power in articulating the particular ways the practice resonates in our bodies and minds. Being with your experience long enough to find the words and images to describe it makes it more memorable, somehow more our own. This makes it easier to know when we get back there again.