In the West, yoga is commonly regarded as a series of physical exercises that promote health, flexibility and wellbeing. In fact, the word yoga means “union” in Sanskrit. Yoga encompasses a wide range of practices that enlighten by revealing the profound interconnectedness of all beings.
The word asana, commonly translated as “pose”, actually means “seat” or “connection to the earth”. The Yoga Sutra, a classic text on yoga from the 2nd century CE, states that the quality of the yogi’s connection to the earth is steady and joyful. In commentary on the Sutra, Sharon Gannon, founder of Jivamukti Yoga, adds that this connection should be mutually beneficial. She explains: “the relationship to the earth and all earthly beings is the “seat” of the yogi. When that relationship has integrity, unity, duration and love, it is masterful”.
The most powerful way to feel your connection to the earth and to all beings is directly, through your five senses.
Go outside. Perhaps to a park, a beach, a forest, or a lawn. Practice Savasana (corpse seat), one of the most potent and ancient yoga poses. Lie flat on the ground, with the face upward, arms spread, palms facing up, feet hip width apart. Let your feet fall sideways. Let the breath flow passively. Gaze up, and then softly close the eyes. With the eyes closed, deeply release into this position for 10 minutes or more. Allow the body to fully relax into stillness.
Tamar Samir is an Advanced Certified Jivamukti Yoga teacher with over 800 hours of training.