Morning and Evening

David Rush


Lately I have been practicing in the mornings with my long-time teacher, Sibylle Dallman, and she made a bit of a change to the usual run of class to end with a seated meditation rather than savasana as usual. It’s made an interesting change as well as an opportunity for a bit of reflection on how I relate to the practice of yoga through asana.

Let me say right now that I love me my savasana – and it’s not just because after getting up at 0500 to travel to class, I could use a bit of a nap. After pulling in my attention from the details of the day with an intense asana practice, savasana makes a space to close the door on all the noise that crowds into my mind so easily. It’s a great expression of pratyahara.

But maybe you’ll notice that all sounds like something that goes on at the end of the day. What about when it’s bloody early and nothing has really gotten started yet? Well, I noticed that the seated meditation actually made quite a good substitute in the morning, and more than that, in stead of feeling all relaxed and “floaty” as I got on the Luas to work, I was finding myself feeling very focussed. But in a light way rather than the obsessive intensity that takes over when I am hip-deep in logic problems.

And that got me thinking: while I have lately been thinking of asana as a pratyahara practice, leading to savasana and a release from immediate concerns, in the mornings it has been working for me as a dharana practice, bringing focus and intensity to my mind without attachment. And dharana is typified by meditation practice in the same way that pratyahara is typified by savasana.

It’s endlessly fascinating to me how malleable asana practice can be. You can use it to withdraw from the world and settle yourself, and you can also use it to bring your mind and body to a very sharp point of focus on things in the world. It’s magic.


Just in case I gave the wrong impression, dharana and pratyahara go together in savasana just as much as in any other asana, but more on that some other time...

This document was translated from LATEX by HEVEA.