The Body of the Universe

Skillful yoga instruction uses clear language and also connects through metaphors based in our embodied experiences of living in this world.

When I teach, I often ask students to feel their seat on the earth, to notice the effects of gravity, to stand on the planet.

One of my jobs is to shine a small light in the direction of wholeness and belonging, not only toward the home of the breath, the body, but into this place, this space, literally the universe that we inhabit.

Earlier this week, we caught a lunchtime show, Journey to the Stars, in the California Academy of Sciences Planetarium. When I was a kid, I loved seeing the shadowed profile of the City around the room’s circumference before the lights went down, the massive star projector from 1952, and the dark dome with all those constellations.

Now, digital technology and the voice of Whoopi Goldberg zoom us around the universe. We can peek into stellar nurseries and learn about the likely life cycle of our sun. I guess I’m a sucker for iconic images, because the enormous crab nebula at the end took my breath away. Yay, science museums!

Face to face with how tiny we are, and yet how miraculous. Billions of stars, who knows how many planets… the universe… infinity… and yet here is human existence. On a cosmic scale, we’re faced with the constancy of change and the interconnectedness of star stuff, side-by-side with questions about sentience, and consciousness. We can know the experience of being part of it all, and recognize how little we know.

Come back to your breath, feel your body on the earth, and the space all around you. You are here.

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