Reflections Task 42 and P.S.

Dear Maria,

Thanks for your Task 41, below you can find my reflections. As it will soon be a year since we started and we are both taking some holiday in August, we agreed that this is the final task for this part of the project. There will be no new task to follow but instead a brief Post Script.

Reflections Task 42 – A Lexicon of Experience

I practice my usual yogasana this week with an awareness of my ‘yoga language’. The verbal language enters first in to my awareness:

‘Feel your breath move up through the spine on the inhalation’.

‘Lift your chest forwards and move your shoulders back’.

‘Let the weight drop down through your sit bones and your shoulder fall away from your ears.’

The phrases are numerous. I have an entire language at the forefront of my mind to describe postures and movements and I find it helpful to have a collection of words and phrases to rely on, as I teach a fair few yoga classes every week. They can however be an obstacle, when they percolate in to my awareness as I enter various poses during my own practice and what I really want to do is empty my head.

The ‘linguistic anchor’ has been securely fastened in my mind but with the instructions for this task a silent language that does not appear in coherent words and sentences appear with unexpected imagery. When consciously moving behind the initial verbal language, I uncover (fragments of) a bodily language. Not that I have not noticed bodily sensations or experienced before, but because I have not paid much attention to how these sensations/experiences might ‘speak’. The imagery is fleeting and I quickly try to capture them by drawing a version of how the experience ‘speaks’ to me. Sometimes words accompany the imagery. When the pictures below came to mind they resembled pictograms: a visual guide that describes the bodily sensation.

Image 1: PolyAHHHHH

During deep back bending words usually stop entering my head. It is interesting how this particular bodily movement silences verbal language and is replaced by visualisation of the body. I often expel deep exhales followed my throat sounds of AHHHHs. This day my spine was floating in mid air in an x-ray-like manner.

Image 2: Sensation Feedback

I am entering one of my final Sun Salutations when I become aware of the the dampness on the surface of my skin, the open pores, the capillaries in my lungs and the breath that moves in between them -all at once. The surface of skin and surface of lungs are in touch with the environment and all of it connects simultaneously. It creates a heightened sense of aliveness.

Image 3: AUM (OM)

This image (not surprisingly) appears after I chant ‘OM’ before beginning my practice. With my eyes close I feel the sound travel up from the back of my throat, resonate through my chest in a big open vibration and land on a spot just beyond my body where the sound ends.

Image 4: TransExtractFiltering

I sit down on my mat to tune in to my body before practicing my yogasana and a vivid image enters me, of something solid moving through a filter of breath and body-space and leaving letters dancing and dangling on the opposite side. It is clearly marking a transition and somehow the seated position (and the ritual) removes clusters by extracting a lightness or freedom from a sensation of compression.

Not unexpectedly, when I look back on the pictograms, they describe a relation between time and space expressed between depth and intensity of how the mark is made on paper, between distance and volume of words, between the simplicity of letters next to each other opposite nuances of the black strokes of the marker.

Post Script

Thanks to the editors of the TDPT blog for hosting this experimental project and to those who read and commented on it.

To you Maria: Two Trainers Prepare has created coherence and consistency of creativity for me during a year of transitioning to a different life. I am very grateful for this time we have spend together – apart. I look forward to the next chapter…

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