Our bodies are vehicles to co-create with the universe and experience bliss. This is not just a theory. It is the ancient promise of yoga, that sages and yogis over the millennia have demonstrated in their own lives. It is a reality I experienced vividly one day while I was studying Scaravelli yoga with Esther Myers in Toronto.
I was in a backbend, breathing, sensing the energy moving through my hands and feet into the ground. Esther stood at my head, her hands placed supportively under my shoulders. As she rolled my shoulders open, she encouraged my upper body to move in the direction of my elbows and hands. Her colleague, Monica Voss, stood at my feet, her hands cradling my lumbar spine. As she subtly tilted my pelvic basin and tailbone toward the ceiling, she encouraged my lower back to move toward my hips, knees and feet.
What followed this gentle lengthening of my spine was a spontaneous explosion of light within me like that of a billion stars. It shot through my spine like a fierce ray, and then burst into supreme, effortless expanse. I was a surging pulse of electricity, an effervescent field of consciousness dancing in an infinite whole. The universe was a symphony and my body was a song. There was no feeling of having a separate body from the whole, though I was fully present in my body in space. I was the space all around. My hands and feet were the floor, as energy continually flowed from this physical frame, to the planet and the universe as a whole, then back. My body/being was pure, unending light.
I broke out in blissful laughter. Everything was perfect. I came down from the backbend and lay on the floor in awe. Others wondered if I was hurt. Esther, who had moved to another student after helping to guide me into the backbend, came over and saw I just needed space. I was having a moment of deep yoga. When I settled, all I could say was, “This is what yoga is all about… this is what it’s all for.” The experience of that luminous, interconnected reality has never left me.
My experience in every asana has changed since then. The gateways to that energetic flow remain open. More energy patterns dance through me spontaneously while I engage in the physical practice of yoga and through my daily life. They have been extensive during profound recalibration periods, such as the spinal healing I underwent a decade ago. Even as I lay grounded into a body that could not move and was in severe pain, I also experienced bliss states.
These energy expressions are not an end in themselves. They are not something to strive for or become attached to. They will come and go like shooting stars, a poetic and tangible reminder that we are infinite light and part of it all. Like full body “ah-ha!” moments, they return again and again to keep us humbly focused on the exquisite mystery that is the path of yoga.
Asana practice is a co-creation, a conversation between us and the Cosmos. We are not the originators of our bodies’ movements. We are not just breathing, but being breathed. We are not just walking, but being walked. In rooted, vital expansion, we embody a co-creation between the Cosmic Intelligence and the Nature Body, which is our human purpose.
This flowering is the gift of yoga. In it, we flow within the whole, and experience the whole within the flow. We become effortless, infinite presence and realize that the universe is a symphony and our body its song.
Parvati is an award-winning singer, composer, producer, yogini, author, and Founder and CEO of the international charity Parvati Foundation. Her work is dedicated to protecting all life on Earth by establishing the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS).