“The mythological serpent king Nagaraja… is said to have one tail and an infinite number of heads, and is envisioned as the supporting background energy of all the things that manifest within creation. The earth that your house sits on, the foundation of the house, the floor beneath your table, the glass holding the water you are drinking, and so on, until you find something that does not serve another – all of these things are aspects of this serpent. Anything that supports, renders service, and seems to exist selflessly for another would qualify as the king of serpents.” Richard Freeman “The Mirror of Yoga”
In asana practice the body is our vessel – the support we depend on- for the practice itself, and most notably for the breath. Points when your body is acting like a vessel, the breath moves easily, dristhi is steady, the mind is focused, and awareness flows through your whole being. A sensation of the body moving around a center calm place arises. It is as if you remain in a steady state, while your body moves into all sorts of positions around it. Points when you are not a vessel, the breath is constricted, there is no dristhi as the gaze moves about, the mind is multiple places, and awareness is shadowed and obscured. Generally in a practice, we move between these two points. The next time you practice, get to know your vessel. Notice when it acts like a vessel, and when it is not. At points when it is not, see if you can notice what blocks have arisen.
In off the mat practice, check in and ask “What am I being a vessel for right now?” Sometimes you’ll be surprised by the answer. As Heather Lilleston mentioned in a post -Wanderlust class, the moon is a vessel for the light of the sun. It receives the light, and immediately shines it back to the earth. The moon doesn’t try to do this, it doesn’t do headstands, meditate, or anything else. Just by being itself, it serves as a vessel. We all, without effort, are vessels for something – teachings, love, laughter, humility, compassion, knowledge, etc.
Can we endeavor to shine a little bit brighter, whatever we have flowing through us? Can we trust that our bodies, our lives, are exactly what we, and everyone around us, needs to move towards enlightenment in this lifetime?