Poetry Of Yoga
By Elyse Grossman
“The soul of the soul of the universe is love”— Rumi
One of the most fundamental and rewarding parts of the yoga practice is to connect and reach the soul, and sometimes this requires breaking the heart open to feel what is buried beneath. My two biggest teachers that have guided my spiritual life have been Yoga and Poetry; there is nothing that I love more, and there is nothing that can ignite me and open me up the way poetry and yoga can. I think it has everything to do with how I am experiencing and living in the moment- the sensations that pierce through the body beckons me to a surrender and the truest form of peace and love.
Many asanas have the ability to spark me deeply, one is Mountain Pose- Tadasana: a posture available to anyone who can stand and breathe. Tadasana invites into the body the essence of stability, that same stability we associate with real mountains. There is stillness, strength and a tranquil power that overwhelms me in Tadasana. I can feel an equanimity as the four corners of my feet root into the earth, as my spine lengthens, and my crown extends and reaches upward to heaven. When I add a subtle backbend, my heart breaks open. Here: a stillness washes over me, and it touches me with the awesome truth that this mountain essence is always in me, it is always there, but yoga allows me to bring my awareness to it. Then, as I return to mountain many times through a practice, I am reminded that there is no smooth mountain: they can be steep, sharp and have many switchbacks. This is the crux of Tadasana’s transformative power: smooth or bumpy, it can still be a place of love and strength.
I have always loved words and their ability to move me, and how they bring to light what I always knew was there, but didn’t have the resources to articulate. In front of me can be a poem or verse that seems to be written just for me, speaking reverentially, orbiting my soul through its musical language. Midway through a practice, I notice how postures move through me in a similar way. What poetry and yoga postures have in common then is a truth, and when connected to the vibrations and sensations, there are true healing opportunities available.
Next time you are on the mat, let your heart be or break open, let the postures move through the body with love, let them speak to your soul the way the best poetry and words do. Let the following poem inspire the soul to open:
Rumi: A Voice Through the Door
Sometimes you hear a voice through the door
calling you, as fish out of water
hear the waves, or a hunting falcon
hears the drum’s Come back. Come back.
This turning toward what you deeply love
saves you. Read the book of your life,
which has been given you.
A voice comes to your soul saying,
Lift your foot. Cross over.
Move into emptiness
of question and answer and question.