Everyday ArtistsThe world's greatest artists walk you through simple, everyday tasks.
We begin our journey together, our quest to a deeper understanding of self and sustenance, in apanasana. Hug your knees to your chest and cradle them like a soft cat, perhaps one you know, perhaps not, for which of us truly knows a cat—any cat. Rock side to side, never forgetting the cat, for they will come back and visit along the journey. Consider humming a lullaby as you rock yourself, as your grandmother used to do before her untimely passing. Bah humbug on mortality, I say.
Upon completion of the melody, drive yourself into supta matsyendrasana by allowing your spine to unwind like a spool of kindly thread while casting your eyes askance, where the horizon greets you with a wink and a warm embrace. Now Oliver Twist yourself from side to side, rotating from the core.
Rise now, dear yogi. Rise as Nancy—God rest her—rose against Bill Sikes, devil take him. But stop halfway, upon your hands and knees, bowed to the future laid bare before you. Become that cat you once cradled. Now reconfigure your animalistic tendencies and become a cow. Now become a cat again, now a cow. As you breathe, consider the implications of such a duplicitous life, divided between the grazing pen, tagged for death, butchery, and consumption, and hunting wild mice in the alleys along Shad Thames for sport and nourishment. Continue living that life as you contemplate the consequences of it.
Bravery blesses those who rise off their knees. Do that now. Stare fiercely at the floor as you pike your back, derriere pushed to the sky, welcoming the sun’s rays upon your bare shoulders. Assuming that the sun has graced this day, and that your shoulders are in such a bare state so as to accept the generous rays thus given. This is downward dog for the unfortunate mockery placed upon the dog that vomits, looking much as we do now as we pedal our legs to stretch those calves.
Hold for five breaths of deepest resolve. Remembering that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other. Once you have remembered this good and proper, bend at the hips, hinging into uttasana, the stance of the sickly stork stuck in such a whirling purgatory that it questions its own existence, as we all should on occasion. Weep if you must. We need never be ashamed of our tears.
Now descend on your haunches like a fox in the switchgrass, holding in malasana. Hold that for one of your most determined breaths. In for three, two, one, and out for one, two, three. Pristine. Now rise upon your tiptoes and swoop your arms like brazen sickles sharper than Fagin’s hooked nose, sheering the morning wheat. Inhale thrice.
Take care now to exercise your heart with love and affection, and not to Scrooge your emotional balance. Procrastination is the thief of time. Collar him with utkatasana. Reach your hands towards the smiling face of God and accept nothing more than a tickle of his chin. Release into the valleys beneath the mountains.
Soldiers of virtue, knights of tender valor, templars of the highest good, it is time now to gather your swords and shields and rotate into warrior two. Worry not about warrior one, he is doing just fine in repose, as good as Barnaby Rudge in his simple state of being. It is a kind heart that asks after him, reward yourself with four or five arcane breaths, delving into the interior of your subconscious with the precision of a seamstress. Now hold for three seconds.
Release into side angle, your foot and your hand joined in spirit, though never in body, lest you become as a teapot, to be tipped over and poured out. Good. Sink upon your knees again, becoming that familiar cat that you have hopefully named by now, a name other than your own, to prevent any confusion among friends, relatives, and fellow cats. Rest your laurels upon your ankles, pushing your vibrant shoulders, kissed by the sun or the idea of the sun, into the floor. Become a cat again. Now roll over, as if the cat within you has died. But it hasn’t, dear yogi, for cats never die, but merely ascend to a higher state of being. The cat is you, your very soul, accept nothing less than that.
Lay still upon the floor in savasana. Take five deep breaths, more robust than ever before. Take more if you like, if your lungs, like our friend Oliver, are barking, “Please, sir, I want some more.” Let the leaven loaf of your chest rise and fall, but take care not to be tempted to eat yourself as you would eat golden bread, fresh from the oven, for that is frowned upon in the civilized world. Do not lose track of relaxing. If you are stressed, try figuratively dying, like Old Marley, for you may find it more relaxing than living.
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