"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Core Strength


At the end of the standing series is a pose called Tree. Balanced on one leg, the other held in place at the top of the thigh, one hand (both someday) at the chest in anjali mudra.

As with all the poses, the list of directions is long and involves every part of mind and body. Lately I'm hearing one above all the others.

"Find your core."

I hear this most often for Tree Pose, and for the other balancing poses, the poses that consistently provide the biggest challenge for me. When it works, I really like being in Tree. We're told to imagine being a tree, and I can. Tall and strong, forming a perfect rectangle with shoulders and hips, my head is pulled to the sky by an unseen sun, my standing foot rooted into the ground.

"Find your core."

I imagine my tree self as something that seems solid, but is in fact fluid and dynamic. Rings of experience rippling out from a center that never changes. I find my breath, focus on my forehead, and for seconds at a time, everything else falls away. I am my core. Confident, unwavering, ageless.

On a good day, I relax in that space until the teacher directs us to change. On a more average day I fall out, or sweat stings my eyes, or I happen to notice a better tree in the person next to me. And my frustration at the obstacles all but guarantees I won't be accessing the unchanging eternity of tree for that session.

"Find your core."

What's different now than it was six months ago is that I know the core is there, whether I find my way to it on a given day or not. The core of me: the place where spirit and body intersect, the place where I'm both uniquely me and universally human, the place where unshakable love resides. The many layers radiating out from that center are my experience, but they are not me.

I look forward to the day when I know my core as intimately as I know the rings surrounding it.

Photo from Flickr

17 comments:

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Or what the tree next to you is doing. : )

BTW, I start Yoga on Thursday with Woohoo - your suggestion was heard!

Suzy said...

Gorgeous line- " Rings of experience rippling out from a center that never changes."

That has ALWAYS been you..

I however am still some sort of bramble bush....

Love you,

Suzy

She Writes said...

Sounds like a great discipline.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Eish, I am not good at that in yoga. Hopefully I'm better at it in life. :0)

Lorna said...

Deb, this picture is beautiful...haunting. Your post really makes me miss my yoga days :). Great post!

fullsoulahead.com said...

Yoga is soooo good.

: )

Go Mama said...

"The core of me: the place where spirit and body intersect, the place where I'm both uniquely me and universally human, the place where unshakable love resides."

You already KNOW your core, Deb. It is unmistakably YOU: confident, unwavering, ageless.

I'm sure you make one awesome tree!

Pam said...

Deb your writing is so good! When I was very fit swimming,and my core became firm and muscled I remember thinking "THIS is what it's all about" - sadly I've let those days lapse, but your post brings it back to me...and it's similar to Tai Chi "residing at the centre of your being", making sense when you are very much in the moment.I think it's great when our mind can relax into discipline, strange as it sounds, but you express it so well.

Wanda said...

Brilliant writing...once again.

Tree is one of the hardest poses for me. Have not been able to get my foot to the top of my thigh...ever.

M said...

Such a great analogy. Remember that your tree is getting stronger every day...and revelation of your core become more clear as well. I'm proud of you for continuing to seek the core...to find your strength.

I love you
Mark

kario said...

Have you ever seen a tree that appeared to be assessing itself against all the others in the forest? I want to get to that point.

Love you.

Janna Qualman said...

I need to work on my Tree. This I know.

Rick said...

Tree has long been one of my favorite poses, Deb. People sometimes laugh at my affection for Mountain and Tree asanas, but I find them both re-enforcing and centering, which in today's world are good things to carry forward each day.

Amber said...

Gosh, has it been six months?! Wow.

This is such beautiful writing. There is so much here, I feel like I need to read it again. Thank you again, so bring us with you. It is a gift to me.

:)

Midlife Jobhunter said...

"What's different now than it was six months ago is that I know the core is there, whether I find my way to it on a given day or not"

Now, what a joy to read that. What hope you offer to so many of us. What a pleasure it is to follow you on this journey. I want to do the tree!

Janna Qualman said...

Deb, coming back to let you know I've mentioned you on today's post. You'll have to weedle through a little fluff first, though. ;)

patti said...

Oh, MY! Janna told me about this post!!! One of my favorite exercises for "core strength" is the tree pose!!!!

SOOO cool.
Hope you visit my places soon!!

Blessings,
Patti