In the act of becoming, I already am
On or off the yoga mat it is common practice to view ourselves as incomplete, a work in progress, on the road to becoming…. This can become especially true when we view our yoga postures in comparison to an ideal: a perfect pose that has been fabricated in the photo lab of Yoga Journal. “One day I will have a wheel / pigeon / dancer pose that looks like that.” Even looking around the studio, it is difficult not to compare.
While setting personal goals and striving to be embody Our best, it is important to move away from the Western pitfall of seeing ourselves as not enough.
The yogic tradition offers an alternative to resolution comparison or fighting to change within what we desire to be from observations without: Sankalpa. This is something we can put into practice on and off the mat.
The sankalpa practice begins from the premise that you already are who you need to be to fulfill your life’s truth and deepest intentions (called dharma). Instead of changing who we are, sankalpa teaches us to focus our minds, to connect to our most heartfelt desires, and to channel the divine energy within ourselves.
If we break the sanskrit word down:
Kalpa – is a vow or rule to be followed above all others
San – is a connection to the highest truth, the highest truth within ourselves.
When viewed this way, finding your sankalpa is just about listening to yourself. Our heartfelt desires and highest truths are already present waiting for us to notice. It is a practice of acute self awareness which requires patience and understanding.
IDEA FOR A PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT - Please contact me if you are interested in helping!
The Ouroboros photograph project will strive to embody the Sankalpa / mantra:
“In the act of becoming, I already am”
This project will use the visual technique of chronophotography pioneered in the Victorian age to capture the beauty of movement. Using volunteers from my current yoga studio to start and eventually from around the world (via emailed photographs) single postures of multiple yogis will be superimposed on top of each other to create one dynamic image. Not to represent movement as classical chronophotography portrays but the fluidity of Being.
As the eye of the camera captures the individual, due to the inherent authenticity of each individual’s Being: All become One. The combination of individuals represents the many ways of Being, a static state that is a pure representation of the fluidity of becoming, and in becoming We already are:
“Oura” - Tail
“Boros” - Eating
The serpent eating its own tail has been depicted in many version through history as a sign of “infinity” or the cycle of life and death that is maintained by the Universe.
The ancient symbol of a snake swallowing its tail - originally seen in the Enigmatic Book of the Netherworld, an ancient Egyptian funerary text in the tomb of Tutankhamun in the 14th century BC. The text is about the god Ra and his union with Osiris in the underworld. An illustration in the text depicts two serpents, holding their heads in their mouths which are coiled around an enormous god, sometimes thought of as the unification of Ra-Osiris. This divine figure is meant to represent the beginning and the end of time.
Later, in alchemic tradition an illustration dating to the third century but first known in the tenth century shows an Ouroboros enclosing the words: hen to pan: The All Is One.
When abstracted these two ideas represent the cyclic renewal of life and infinity and have become a modern day representation of infinity or wholeness.