Photo: Mila Zinkova
Poet in residence
Corpse Pose at the End of Yoga Class
BY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST CARYN MIRRIAM-GOLDBERG
Lights off, the forest is still.
All the old trees lying on their sides
or still standing, vine entwined. The wind
picks up a scent: blue car, midnight,
open windows up and down hills
in the pulse. Do you hear how thunder
is always on the in breath,
hummingbird sighting on the out breath?
Do know my arms sing but only
like sunlight through the hinge of a door?
The wind picks up, expanding my chest.
I fall into the floor, the backs of my legs,
my spine, the unbroken fields between shoulders,
and on the line my mind threads, the bird
that I call my heart, so grateful to be home,
to be rising into the tumble of other birds
heading north to be still with the snow
of the next season.
Reprinted with permission of the author
from Landed (Mammoth Publications, 2009).
Corpse pose — svasasana — as many yoga teachers and scholars will tell you, is considered one of the most important asanas because it brings us home to ourselves and allows our bodies to integrate the journey they’ve just undertaken.
The next time you’re in corpse pose, imagine yourself immersed in a landscape that feels like home to you — a forest, a prairie, a meadow overlooking the ocean, a sandy stretch of beach — and then imagine your body is this landscape.
Then when you rise out of this pose, find yourself some paper, and write about yourself coming home to this land that is you, that has been you all along. Write about how each breath, each relaxing of each limb, shows itself in the way trees move, wind settles or rises, waters ripple. Come home to yourself in the land of your body and on this mirror of the page.
Beginning a writing practice? Getting started, groundrules to free you, and podcasts of other writing prompts. Visit Caryn’s Write From Your Life page (http://carynmirriamgoldberg.wordpress.com/write-from-your-life/)
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Name may be withheld by request.
© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.