The Animal & Higher Spirit Within
Yoga allows us to enjoy both the animal spirit and the higher spirit with-in.
Look at most animals on the planet. If they aren’t sleeping or eating, they are usually moving, and stretching. Hunting, gathering, migrating, playing, bathing—it’s all movement. Most of us in modern life spend the largest percentage of our waking hours sitting- often with posture that is detrimental to our bodies.
Yoga gives us a chance to stretch like cats as they transform from slumber to wakefulness, or like dogs as they stretch out their muscles before getting ready to wag their tales and plunge into their puppy ways.
Even the dolphin pose in yoga allows us to recall the fluidity of our marine cousins.
Standing on one leg and bending the other into a sideways V may be called the Tree Pose but when I get my balance right and spread my arms like wings, I feel like a grand bird that could fly at any moment.
Paleo-diets were a big rage in modern times, but we may want to take an evolutionary look at those nomadic ancestors for more than food. They didn’t need to schedule walk dates or pick-up games with their buddies to make sure their bodies moved. Even more recently in human evolution, what pioneers needed exercise pals or classes?
Humans are animals too and posing like cats, dogs and warriors can remind us of the value of flexibility and strength.
Granted most animals had to keep moving or they would get eaten. If they sat around too much they would be prey, not predator. I am grateful we have evolved so that we can sit and pray (or chant) and be safe from predation.
We can pose in a place where we are safe to dream, float leave our sense of corporeal being or really connect to our bodies to help them. We can do all kinds of animal poses and poses with beautiful Sanskrit names, and then “die” for a bit, lying in safety in corpse pose….. to then resurrect ourselves with deeper stillness and more graceful movement in our daily lives. .
Whether we want to take a spiritual approach about connecting with the divine whole for peace, or the medical perspective of how yoga can release “feel good” chemicals that flow in us, yoga balances past and future with true presence.
Yoga can leave us feeling more peace-full and whole, instead of feeling like we are full of pieces and holes.
Yoga can help us move more like animals, and move our hearts and souls well so we can be well ---- and be the highest beings we can be.