In a yoga class I took yesterday, the teacher made a comment that caught my attention. She said that we live in a personal sphere, the space taken up by outspread arms and legs. As we age and become more fearful of missteps, we shrink into the center of our spheres, shortening our stride, hunching into ourselves.
Even if we’re not to the point where age is making us shrink into that sphere, our sedentary ways certainly do. Here I am sitting at a computer, taking up very little space, making tiny movements of fingers, eyes, head. Not exactly using the whole sphere of my being, am I? So I paused, stretched out my arms, and suddenly I’m not so hunched into my space any more, and I feel a tad more alert.
Grief has the effect of drawing us away from the outer limits of that sphere, too. Life has dealt us the worst blow of all when it removes the one person who connects us to the world, and we shrink from additional punches.
As my grief has waned, I have tried to open myself up to the world, going out to the desert, flinging my arms wide, taking deep breaths, but until now, I’ve never paid any attention to my personal sphere. A beautiful image, isn’t it? Living in our own sphere, on the sphere of the earth, in the sphere of our solar system, on the edge of the sphere of our galaxy. Okay, so the galaxy isn’t a sphere, but still, it’s an interesting concept, all these spheres within spheres.
It doesn’t take any training to live more fully within one’s sphere. All we have to do is unfold our arms, raise our ribcage, lift our head, roll back our shoulders, take longer strides. I tried taking longer strides today while out walking, and it felt good for the first twenty minutes or so, and then — ouch, ouch, ouch. I could feel the painful stretch of my inner thighs. Apparently, without my even being aware of it, I’ve been taking smaller and smaller steps.
I will keep at it and see where this awareness of my personal sphere takes me. Perhaps it will help me live more expansively, maybe even help me think more expansively. At the very least, using more of my personal space will help my posture, and that in itself is not a bad thing.