Monday, May 17, 2010

The Weaver: a Yoga Meditation

We each have our own lives to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving. ~ Louisa May Alcott

Each of the yoga classes I teach forms a pattern. My students are comfortable with a small amount of variation in our routine. Overall, however, each class remains steadfast in its comforting, comfortable routine. We begin by centering ourselves with the breath, quieting body and mind. We move through a series of Asanas (poses) to increase strength, flexibility and overall fitness. At the close of each class, we end with a time of visualization, restoration and relaxation. For the next blog posts in the coming weeks, I'd like to share a few of my favorite visualization exercises. These have come to mean a great deal to my students...and I hope you will find these offerings to be helpful, restful and inspiring. Some of these are variations of stories I've learned from other teachers. But, many are of my own creation....simply born from ideas that sprung up during class. The story below is my own.

The Weaver

Envision walking along an ocean path until you come to a beautiful cottage. It's everything you could have dreamed of....the perfect white fence, the rosemary growing by the garden gate, and the beautiful view of the sea. There are lilacs and beach roses growing on bushes on either side of the cottage. As you inhale, you can smell the flowers, the salty air, the herbs and the sunshine. You can hear the birds calling overhead...seagulls and sandpipers and robins. The cottage door is open, and you let yourself into a bright open space. The wide pine boards on the floor glisten with a loving patina. The morning light is illuminating a sparse, but welcoming, room. The dried herbs hanging in the beams overhead are homey. The piece of furniture that dominates the room is a large wooden loom. It's clearly been in use for many years, and the tapestries hanging around the small room are testaments to its usefulness. You see the weaver seated a small bench, moving the shuttle back and forth with effortless movements. Her hands are in fluid motion and you never notice her changing yarn colors, even as variation shades appear on her work before you. You sit down next to her. You admire her work, while being truly amazed at both her swiftness and her perfection of skill. She indicates skeins of threads to be handed to her, and you approve of the lovely array of colors hanging on the wall.

As you watch the tapestry's images begin to unfold under the weaver's capable hands, you realize that this isn't a simple design. You see a portrait of yourself begin to emerge from the interwoven threads. However, this isn't a snapshot created by a camera. Rather, it's unfolding as a likeness of you....the essential, authentic, internal you. It's a portrait of the 'you' that you truly are inside. It captures your dreams, your hopes, your deepest wishes. The tapestry continues to expand showing you the 'you' you knew you could always be, the 'you' you wish to become, the 'you' that is beautiful, talented, confident and filled with promise. You remain mesmerized by the weaver's deftness with her shuttle, and her hands become the source of your gaze, as you watch, captivated by her ability to see within you...and to make that vision a reality in the tapestry.

And yet, you begin to notice that the hands creating the piece of weaving on the loom are your own hands. The image you have created is your own image. You realize that you have arrived at your own cottage, designed by you, to weave your own self-portrait.

Never forget that you are the weaver of your own destiny.