Yogis as transformers

At my Saturday class this past week, I suddenly got inspired to examine the idea of yogis as beings who transform energy.  I know….that either sounds way too obvious or way too groovy, but stick with me here.

Prior to this class I’d had a long conversation with my boyfriend, who is a firefighter, about how fire engines work to alter water pressures.  Basically, water is put into the engine – from a fire hydrant, a retaining pond, or a pool of some sort – and the engine operator, who runs a panel of switches and levers, can choose the quantity and pressure of the water that leaves the engine via the hoses.  So basically, the fire engine is a transformer through which water passes, changing its potency along the way.  Similarly, we have electrical substations all over the country that convert high voltage electricity coming from, say, a dam or a coal-fired power plant, to household current into which you can plug an appliance.

So I started thinking about yogis as power transformers, like substations or fire engines.  Think about it – there’s energy all around us, no one really doubts that, although folks argue about what forms that energy takes. Everyone accepts the existence of light, and radio waves, electrical waves, gravity, and entropy.  Most of us also accept concepts like the “bad vibe” you felt coming from the guy at the next table in the restaurant last night.  A lot of us additionally embrace the idea that everything is pulsing and vibrating, at least at a sub-atomic level, if not at a larger level, and that this pulsation is yet another form of energy.  So if all those forms of energy – and possible many many more – are out there, they should be accessible to us, right?

Yoga practitioners by definition work to feel and understand the energies moving within their own bodies.  At some point, we learn how to seemingly create energy (e.g. by spreading the toes or engaging the shins – Anusara’s “muscle energy” actions) and draw it up into ourselves for use in a pose.  Then at some later point we realize that we’re not really creating it at all – we’re borrowing it.  Like the body we inhabit and the world we experience, it’s on loan.   What we’re doing is transforming it.  Like the engine plugging into the fire hydrant to get the raw water source, we plug into the earth, our mats, the floors of the studios we practice in, and draw energy up from there.  That’s a usable form of energy to us, but maybe not to everyone else we know.  We’ve got to use our skills and awareness to convert it to something folks can see and enjoy.  So we practice.  We draw from the field around us to make beautiful poses and help ourselves feel better about our lives and more connected to each other.  When that happens, we leave class smiling, ready to give time, thought and compassion to everyone we encounter.  We transform our efforts into brightness, which is a form of energy nearly everyone can recognize, yogi or not.

That’s my vision.  I like how it enables me to make my practice an act of service.  Yes, my practice helps me, for certain.  But maybe it serves a larger purpose as well?

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~ by bridgetannlyons on February 23, 2011.

2 Responses to “Yogis as transformers”

  1. Bridget that was an awesome class. It was a tough class and with so many of us (28, 30 ?) we were conducting a lot of energy. I loved how you guided us through with our breath and allowing the usable energy around us to flow through us instead of us trying to create the energy. It was awesome and a great last class for me before I had to leave to go home. You are an incrediable teacher. Thank you!

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