yoga

Bhujangasana: Unlocking the Secret Wisdom of the Cobra.

 

The chest is open; the heart expansive in joyful appreciation and anticipation of our inward evolution, steadfastly emitting rhythmic waves of love for oneself as well as love for All That Is.

The shoulders are pulled back and down, the shoulder blades drawn together with the intensity of long-lost lovers. The chin looks up, opening our channel of verbal communication. The vertebrae, from the base of the spine right through to the head, are lengthened. As we inhale into the pose, we create space in areas prone to blockages and we release energies that no longer serve our higher purpose.

With the exhalation, the abdominal muscles and the glutes are engaged, further providing a solid foundation for us to grow and develop — in the pose and, indeed, beyond the confines of this physical position.

***

The power of bhujangasana is undeniable: it is quick and effective in awakening our will and in tapping into our innermost reserves of physical, mental and emotional fortitude.

I have always been drawn to the symbolism of the cobra. It has made me hunger for its secrets to be revealed. It has kindled a desire to explore the effects of the pose beyond the physical realm.

Bhujangasana has divulged its insights to me slowly over time. I have waited patiently, and ravenously devoured every morsel of wisdom it has offered.

Its sagacity is always relevant, always significant, ever-pregnant with meaning.

More recently, the cobra has alerted me to the poisons that I have allowed to take root in the fertile soil my mind. What are these treacherous machinations and why do I entertain them? They might sound familiar to you:

I am not good enough.
What if I can’t?
What will they think?
Why is my hair doing that?
I look rough.

Enough.

The symbolism of this asana has reminded me of the importance of feeling at ease in my own skin. It reminds me of the importance of gratitude for what is and of appreciation of the present. The energy of the cobra gives me the confidence to affirm: I am who I am, and I am enough. In fact, it gives me permission to take it a step further: I am who I am, and I am f*****g amazing.

Thank you, cobra, for the insight. Thank you for awakening the internal power dormant within, that has allowed me apply the antidote to these poisons by saying, “Enough.” Thank you for allowing me to inhabit this space of resolute contentment.

Paradoxically, however, bhujangasana teaches us that it’s not enough to live in contentment. Though contentment is vital, discontentment can also administer sage counsel.

There will be times when we feel like we’re constricted by our current reality, like we are stagnating. The presence of discontentment alerts us to the fact that there is work to be done, that we need to embrace the energy of change to develop further. Metaphorically, we are challenged to be as comfortable with the way things are as we are comfortable with change.

The balance lies in accepting what is and the readiness to embrace a new reality altogether. This balance between contentment and non-attachment is one that we will need to negotiate at different points in our lives.

And there will be other times still when we feel like we’re being ripped open and prised apart by experiences in the world around us. In times like these, we need to flow with the momentum of change.

When events around us are changing at a pace that is difficult to keep up with and tumultuous feelings surface, these are signals that we are going through a spiritual upgrade, that the death of one or more aspects of our being is inevitable.

Do not fear; trust the rhythms of life.

For in the same way as a snake sheds its skin, we shed layers of being: layers that unfurl when we are ready to embrace the change that this shedding presupposes. The cobra has taught me that there is no end to the complexity of the individual. It has taught me that by letting go of that which no longer serves us, we grow more fully into ourselves.

It has taught me to accept and embrace the cycles of birth, death and rebirth within my own life. It has taught me that I should not be afraid to be more, that I should not be afraid of my enormous potential to shine.

In life, change and death are inescapable. Within our body, our cells die and regenerate — in some cases, every few days. We are literally in the continual process of creating ourselves anew. The awareness with which we infuse our reincarnations affects the quality of our upgrades and the efficiency with which we turn the poisons of the world and the mind into delicious, life-enhancing nectar.

***

Maintaining the hands in position, lower the chest and shoulders and tuck in the chin. Allow the forehead to rest on the mat. Rest the cheek to one side and release the arms alongside the body.

Inhale deeply and release.

***

Anne Marie Morello considers herself a free-range human: she is a Yoga teacher, a writer, a counselor and an English teacher. She has recently embarked on a Master’s degree in Psychotherapy, and she is particularly interested in the benefits of therapeutic writing. Writing is an integral part of her life; it’s how she learns about herself and the world around her. It helps her deal with the ‘plot twists’ in life with some kind of grace and humility. Although she is no fan of spiders or parallel parking, she’s even less of a fan of the injustice she sees in the world. She tries to share kindness and love in her interactions with others in the hope that it will inspire others to do the same too.

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