The Secret Language of Inversions – Donna McCheyne – Simply Soulful Yoga
One of my all-time favourite yoga books is “Hatha Yoga the Hidden Language” by Swami Sivanada Radha. This book really is a magical enlightenment into the hidden meanings and symbolism behind our favourite yoga poses. It discusses the symbolism of yoga asana and inspires us to take the meaning from our mat into our daily life by connecting the asana with everyday thoughts. It successfully combines ancient yoga wisdom with the ideals of a modern world. Being a yogi with a naturally analytical mind, this book has helped me understand possible meanings behind a certain posture, which I now relate to during my personal practise. Not only is this an inspiring and grounding way to practise, it’s also a lot of fun; which is what it’s all about, right? My practise has totally transformed, and I now feel yoga helps to serve me on all levels; my analytical side as well as my physical, emotional and spiritual sides. A total workout!
The book covers asanas which represent everyday items, by placing them into chapters covering structures, tools, plants, reptiles, birds and animals. One of my favourite yoga asanas is Salamba sarvangasana; the shoulder stand. I enjoy the shoulder stand pose because it helps relieve tension in my neck and shoulders, it also helps with my digestion and sinus congestion; areas which I try to focus on in my personal practice. Salamba sarvangasana is a symbol of self-will and this position involves bending of the will. We can often shoulder the burdens of others and we are encouraged to question ‘what burdens can we put down?’.
Being an inversion, this pose also reminds us that life is forever changing and to expect the unexpected. Suddenly, our world becomes upside down; our sky becomes our ground, and our ground becomes our sky. Our world has become topsy-turvy and we are invited to look at things from a different perspective. Whilst teaching a class, I invite my students to consider an area of their life they have recently experienced an unanswered question, a challenge, or conflict.
Whilst in Salamba sarvangasana, it is not uncommon, for us to contemplate a question, step back, create some space, and for an observation, answer, or solution to pop into our mind quite freely. When we gift ourselves time and space, we create the opportunity to breathe, learn, love and act from the heart. During the summer months, some of my yoga classes are held in the great Devon outdoors; both on the beach and on the water using a Stand-Up Paddleboard. This helps takes our inversions to a whole new level. They really do invite us to see things from a different angle or point of view! If you have not tried it yet – Give it a go and let me know what you discover!
Donna doing one of her favourite yoga poses, wearing her favourite YogaLeggs, in one of her favourite places: Happy days!
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