October 27, 2011
Practicing Yoga With Lessons From Birds
During this time of year like as in the springtime, I am always delighted to hear and see new bird varieties flying through this area. Usually I hear the screeching of a Blue Jay before I spot it, as this is a familiar sound from growing up in upstate New York where they are abundant. My backyard becomes a display of beautiful color, not only from the changing hues of the fall leaves, but also from the addition of these radiant blue birds, mixed in with the usual vibrant red cardinals and bright yellow finches. Add in the fluttering wings of monarch butterflies hovering around my purple butterfly bush, and suddenly my surroundings are filled with the essence of a rainbow.
In Yoga, bird-inspired names are among the many names of asanas (postures). If you’ve ever wondered where the names of these poses came from, like pigeon, swan, eagle, peacock, crane, etc…, you are not alone. While many of Yogic postures mimic the nature of an animal, or tool in regards to its appearance or nature of being, the bird named postures actually hold a special meaning in ancient Hindu mythology. Birds are considered messengers of the Gods. Since Hindu Gods and Goddesses do not have wings, like Christian angels do; they ride on top of the flying creatures.
So, the next time you find yourself in any of these bird-inspired Yoga asanas, allow yourself to feel the power and importance of mimicking the great messengers of God. And as you observe the variety of birds in your locale, imagine all of the great purposes that they have in this lifetime as well.