My Other Yoga Mat is the Cosmos PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Beth Lapides   

Practice Pages : My Other Car Is A Yoga Mat

Beth Lapides
Beth Lapides

I’m so excited! I’ve made a huge breakthrough in my practice. After only twelve years of determined effort, I have moved on from the first sutra to the second! At this rate I will get through all 195 of Pantanjali’s Sutras by the time I’m 2,340 years old. Thankfully I have my Hatha practice to keep me young.

The first sutra, atha yoganusanam, sounded so simple: “Now is the time we do Yoga.” Then I started thinking about ‘now’ ‘time’ ‘we’ ‘do’ and ‘Yoga.’ Yikes. And what about “the?”

A dozen years of down dogs later, it’s no small victory to show up on my mat with the feeling I’ve woven that first sutra into my life. Even if I ultimately had to win it by turning part of the sutra into my My Space password.

Now I find myself thinking about the second sutra in the same way I think about lunch after I’ve fully digested breakfast. I’m hungry for it. Sutra 2, or more accurately 1.2 says: “We do Yoga to connect to unbound consciousness.“ And I’m okay with “we” “do” “Yoga” and even “connect.” It’s “unbound consciousness” that’s got me this round.

Apparently my subconscious is working it out. I’ve developed a strange habit of tracing infinity signs onto the side of my thumb with the tip of my index finger. I noticed myself doing it absentmindedly one night while I was watching a movie. Once I was aware of it, I caught myself doing it A LOT, in fact, almost all of the time that I wasn’t clutching something. Of course I’m clutching something most of the time: keyboard, Blackberry, some shred of stability. But every now and then, at least fifteen minutes a day, I’m not clutching anything, or anyone, and then my hand starts in with its strange inkless doodling.

And this invisible drawing has drawn my attention to how much I’m thinking about our place in the sky. And its place in us. About how our galactic spiral is a mirror of our snakey DNA structure. That we’re literally made of stardust.

I find myself reading elaborate explanations and interpretations of planetary movements, trying to decipher the technicalities of 2012 and the galactic alignment, to figure out if and how it might be connected to my physical, spiritual and emotional alignments. I stare up into the night sky wondering, is the Big Dipper really pouring golden energy down onto my home? Is Sirius, the Dog Star, really a portal to the next dimension? When I look at bright blue day sky I see a sparkling, infinity looping energized grid. My photos are filled with orbs that – who? – look like nebulae. I guess I really do have stars in my eyes.


Turns out that ether, in Sanskrit, is akasha, as in your super-permanent akashic records. I always imagined they were written in something even more solid than stone. But akashic is derived from the root kas, which means to be visible, to appear, to shine, to be brilliant.


Which is all kind of weird for me. I’ve always been an earthy girl, arty but practical, a feet on the ground, stubborn, Capricornian seagoat girl. Now, as my index finger has been “pointing to,” my feet are still on the ground, but my head’s in the clouds. This new me isn’t quite an air head, but maybe I am an ether head.

So, a few months ago when I was asked to test-drive a new company’s Yoga mats I got excited when I saw that one of them had a picture of deep space on it. I was hoping it might help me navigate this new terrain I’d entered, terrain where there isn’t any terra at all.

The mat arrived and looked great. I left my black mat home guarding my altar and brought the cosmic mat to class. I hated it. I told myself it was just different, that I was clinging, that I should use it a few times and break it in. But who has time? There’s a whole shifting cosmos/world/society/economy to grok.

There was something potentially inspiring about this ethereally cosmic mat I wasn’t willing to give up on. So I rolled it out in my office. I thought at the very least it might encourage me to get up off my ass when I’d been sitting at my desk too long.

And it totally did! I’d tried other mats in that spot, and they never worked. There was something about the picture of outer space that encouraged me to explore my inner space. Before work I’d sneak in a few minutes of mantra and meditation, on long phone calls I’d lie down and restore with my feet up on the wall, mid-afternoon I’d open my hips and my heart. And during all of that it encouraged me to connect to unbound consciousness.

Turns out that ether, in Sanskrit, is akasha, as in your super-permanent akashic records. I always imagined they were written in something even more solid than stone. But akashic is derived from the root kas, which means to be visible, to appear, to shine, to be brilliant. Doesn’t that sound like stars to you?

Last week, with this all swirling around, I had a dream in which one of my Facebook Yoga friends made a guest appearance. The next day I posted a cool NYT article about recycled materials for home building, and this friend commented on my posting. Typical synchronicity for the way for my life is now. I told her this in a comment. She commented back that I was in her dream too, and it was a similar dream. Let me emphasize we’ve never met; we’ve only had a few casual volleys on Facebook. So where were we when we were having those dreams? When Greg and I have overlapping dreams? In unbound consciousness. In the ether.

But what is this infinite ether? And how do you connect to unboundedness? How do you not? Is it the hardest thing in the word or the easiest? Isn’t infinity everywhere, all the time? Do we connect through it and thus to it? Is something changing in it that’s changing us? Is it just that I’m on the second sutra? Or is the second sutra popping up to help me understand these changes?

When I meditate now, I hear a hum. “Tinnitus,” people suggest. No, it’s not. “Cars.” Definitely not. “The low frequency military hum.” No it’s not that either. I think it’s the sound of the cosmos. The actual hum of the ether. Nada yogis suggest listening to the sound and the sound inside the sound. And to the sound inside the sound that’s inside the sound. Ad infinitum. Until you get to the sound that was the sound that came from the nothing that was something that created everything that is or isn’t.

I’m getting there. Partly thanks to my new etheriffic mat. Because sometimes we can be the change we want to see, but sometimes we become changed by what we are seeing.

Beth Lapides is making comedic stops through the ethers, including a night performing “100% Happy 88% of the Time” at the Writer’s Boot Camp in Santa Monica, Sunday, October 25 at 8:00 P.M. Her regular Comedian’s Way classes are ongoing. Find out more at: bethlapides.com

Beth’s Cosmic Yoga Mats
Beth’s Cosmic Yoga Mats

Beth’s Cosmic Yoga Mats

The etheriffic mat with the graphic of the universe Beth uses is her office is made by Devi Yoga Mats: devimats.com.

The black mat Beth tried to leave by her altar, but instead practices on every time she goes to class is the classic black mat by Manduka: manduka.com.

 

 
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