Here’s another archival yoga post from my old blog Metropolitan Observer. I wrote this post after a memorable and remarkable experience in a Kundalini Yoga class. I guess animal totems are still a potent theme, as just yesterday I blogged about animal symbology in divination.
Have you ever had a visual experience in a yoga class that stuck with you? If so, please share it. Would love to hear how others are being affected.
Today’s class was to build intuitive faculties. This is an ability all humans have but lays dormant in many. In those who have it and know it, it’s often pushed into dormancy by ignoring it, not believing in it, or feeling cursed by it (I was one of these people and am now in the process of healing my intuitive powers).
We did two sets: one for the pituitary gland, as represented by the third eye point (6th chakra, its color is royal blue), which is the seat of intuition, and one for creating and conserving prana (life force) energy.
One of our first exercises was to assume a lunge pose and do breath of fire for about a minute while “seeing into” our future, literally lifting our gaze (eyes closed or open) and staring deep into our third eye point and seeing what comes.
I saw many things but the one that suprised me the most was a swan. A swan? I don’t even really “like” swans. They’ve never been an animal I felt any particular way about. I certainly never felt drawn to them as an animal totem as I do to the owl or the frog. So the vision of a swan in the midst of breath of fire was certainly bewildering.
Just a few days ago I found a site that has compiled a decent amount of symbolism about animal totems. When I got home, something reminded me about my swan visitation, so I decided to look it up and was amazed by what I found.
Swans represent grace, union, transformation, balance, dreams. Since they spend most of their time in water, usually building their nests at waterside, they also take on the symbolism of water: intuition, dreams, creativity, the subconscious. Finally, the swan represents harmony and balance as it exists seamlessly between three of the four elements: gliding along the water, flying through the skies, and nesting on earth. I was further blown away to find out that the swan represents divine partnership in Hinduism where the swan is the Hamsa bird, or two swans, Ham and Sa, float around “living on honey from the blooming lotus of knowledge.”
I am feeling my intuition growing throughout my Yoga Teacher Training and the puja we performed on May 14th, the night after the New Moon in Taurus (for which I also did some rituals at home) seems to have kicked it into overdrive.
I can’t recall ever thinking of a swan before. Sure I have seen them before, but I have not thought of a swan in ages, maybe ever.