This solar eclipse today was magical! It made me feel like I could accomplish anything I could ever dream of and more! Wait, let me take a step back and catch you up.
Have you ever heard of Hatha Yoga? There’s a whole book called the Hatha Pradipika that outlines all the bazillion rules about this particularly physical yoga practice. It’s actually kind of awesome … inside this spiritual text is the kind of stuff that make people
roll their eyes at yogis. Like, beyond poses and breath work, it talks about stuff like putting a piece of turmeric up your butt and “flossing” your nasal cavity. Gross, dude. Like, seriously. No one needs to know you’re doing that, especially not your highest self.
Anyway, Hatha Yoga is a yoga practice that involves asanas, or all those poses in class. The Sanskrit word “hatha” can be translated a bunch of ways, but one way is “Sun” for “Ha” and “Moon” for “Tha.” So it’s Sun and Moon, the light and the dark. Makes you think of Yin-Yang, the same sort of thing.
The term “yoga” means a lot of things too, but at its root, it refers to the idea of union. So, Hatha Yoga literally means the union of the light and the dark.
Do you see where I’m going with this?
Hello! Today was the first solar eclipse of my memory (the last one was when I was 2)! It was a day when the moon’s darkness completely eclipsed, or, one could say … made union with, the sun’s light. It was as if the dance of the moon and the sun finally came together. It was a yoga of these opposing forces.
For anyone who has taken a yoga class mindfully, you know that this is what the practice of yoga is all about. Bringing the unconscious into the conscious. Recognizing and honoring your weakness while recognizing and honoring your strength. Seeing where you are stiff and where you are flexible, and breathing into both. Namaste may translate to “the light in me sees and honors the light in you,” but you could just as easily say “the dark in me ….” It’s not bad and good, it just is.
The other day in yoga class at the botanical garden, I practiced a headstand for the first time in a while. I toppled over! Haha! Then I tried it again and nailed it. After class, some students complimented my headstand. Which one, I wondered? Did they like the up or the down? The light or the dark? Was either of them actually better?
Tonight, the teacher of the fantastic yin class I took at the community studio here in Santa Fe brought up this definition of Hatha Yoga, which I had already contemplated. But she told the class that it was a dance of the sun and the moon, but, she added, they never fully connected.
Well, looking through my little pinhole camera that I made out of a cereal box, some tape and a small piece of tinfoil, I can tell you today from my sweet housesitter’s patio that they sure connected alright! After class, I discussed this with her. She said, “Well, I guess so, but it is really rare.”
EXACTLY! Having the moon and sun connect so intimately – like during today’s eclipse – is indeed a very rare and very special experience. It is as rare as overcoming the maya, which is the Sanskrit word for the world around us. The maya is of course filled with illusion. Right? Think about all the stories you tell yourself, and how years later you see how they weren’t even true. Or the way you view yourself one day to the next. Oh, today I feel great about myself! Oh, then this happens and now everything sucks.
See how it’s all just an illusion? I used to hate raisins, and now they’re an OK snack. Are
they yucky or yummy? Are my tastebuds even real? See how everything around us is just an illusion that tries to trick us into being attracted to somethings and adverse to others? That way, we’re stuck in a suffering game and we never get to the point where we can truly connect and cherish both our light sides and our dark sides. Oh, tricky maya!
Well, when you overcome the maya and the illusions that are inherent within it, then you have reached enlightenment. That of course is also the whole point of yoga. You overcome all the ridiculousness of your everyday life to realize that you are one with your highest self, that you have God within and you are God and oh my GOD, what can’t you do?
That was what was so awesome about the eclipse today. It is a visual reminder that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Anything that you want to do is possible. I mean, are your dreams bigger than actually somehow lining up the sun and the moon so that your entire surroundings go dark in the middle of the afternoon? I mean, I don’t think me becoming fluent in Spanish is that hard, comparatively.
You’ve surely heard a lot about intentions during this solar eclipse talk. What are your intentions? What are your goals? What do you want to accomplish in the next, say, 5 years? Dream big! Remember, if the moon and the sun can unite in a beautiful dance, then friend, we can grab our highest self by the hand and we can dance too!