The yoga mat can become a poustina, a place of retreat, a place in which to put aside the outside world and come back to oneself and to go out to a wider place, to expand and become one with the Everything.
If you’re not familiar with the term ‘poustina’
(sometimes poustinia) it comes from the Russian Orthodox way and was,
traditionally, a lonely place, a silent place, where one can go to listen to
God. It is a place in which to empty
oneself, to enter into ‘kenosis’. A
poustina cabin or room is, effectively, a hermit’s cell – just a bed, a table,
a chair, a cross and a Bible.
Spirit of the Home I talked a lot about
making your home into a ‘soul’ home and yet I came to recognise that that isn’t
always possible. Usually we share our
homes with other people; we cannot make them entirely suit our tastes, our
inclinations, let alone our spirit. But
no matter how or where we live, we can find poustina – it could be in a chair,
a corner, in the bath, on the loo. And, even if not in a physical place, then
in our minds.
More and more these days, I find it on the
mat. I don’t think it’s a coincidence
that yoga is so generally confined and configured by the mat. Of course you don’t need one - you can sink into asana wherever you are – be
it in the office, in the kitchen, up a mountain, in the forest, by the crashing
waves on the shore.