Gorgeous word, isn't it? Sensual, sibilant, gently rocking on the lift of that central V, and finishing with a long throaty 'aaaa' of surrender and almost-sleep. Bikram, which you may remember I tried at the start of the year, has become a passion rather than a dabble, successfully realigning both my long, unruly body and my skittish, tangled mind. I've been heavily relying on the yoga posture savasana (from the Sanskrit 'corpse pose') in the past few emotionally turbulent weeks.
The classic savasana posture involves lying on your back with your arms by your sides, palms up, concentrating on deep abdominal breathing through the nose. It helps you to give up each contorted posture instantly, moving from extreme effort to calm release, from catabolic franticness to anabolic renewal, and can also be applied to centred standing postures or front-down postures, as long as stillness, relaxation and recovery are the aim.
But it's outside the yoga room that it has really comes into its own, helping to release me from the adrenalin-laced temporary insanity that is my typical emotional and muscular response to life (still so defensive, still so brittle): basically, to let go.
I try and practice it throughout the day, observing the grotesque postures I adopt when faced with responsibility, or challenge, or fear, then breathing and relaxing them back into calm. But it's so easy to forget.
via mupke @flickr
So my best idea over the past month has been tube meditation. Every time I step into a train, I (theoretically) come back to the present and let my ego-babble go. The noise and smell and motion actually help - there is silence to listen for, under all that. And, tending as they do to top and tail working days, tube journeys provide the perfect time to reconnect and recover from the slings and arrows of mundanity.
Rid of their designated reading slot, my New Yorkers are piling up, but it's worth it, in a creeping, halting way.
Try it. Let me know what you think.