According to Chinese tradition, 2012 is the year of the dragon. While most western myth depicts the dragon as a fire breathing beast to be feared, eastern traditions revered the creature. In fact, in Chinese culture, the dragon symbolizes power, wisdom and fortune and is regarded as a divine beast. I’ve always felt a connection with the mystical, winged, serpent. There’s an alluring freedom, strength, and creative spark that the awakened dragon flames to life.
I had the absolute pleasure of attending an intensive weekend yoga workshop by Sean Tebor of Dragon Tree Yoga Center in Santa Fe, entitled, “Waking the Dragon.” Through a series of non traditional asanas (poses) that harmonized yoga, creativity, and even some martial arts, we awakened our “dragonian” spines from the tips of our “tails” to our heart centers. Like a dragon born of fire, I emerged from the experience feeling supremely balanced. Fluid yet grounded. Energized, but relaxed. But, most of all I awakened with a renewed purity of mind and heart.
After my morning asana, I dove pretty deeply into meditation. It was extremely visual. I felt as if I were a hiker descending a winding, canyon lush with vegetation. I couldn’t see the base of the canyon, but it was dark and myst covered. With each step toward the bottom, I began to hear a guttural growl. At first, I recoiled out of surprise, but I pressed on. Each step in my descent, the thunderous rumbles got louder but my fear waned. It was as if I was becoming part of the creature below instead of fearing it and fighting against it. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that weekend’s energy charged practice had awakened my dragon. And, what a beautiful metaphor this meditation was. There’s a passage in Ingersoll’s, “Dragons and Dragon Lore,” that is a perfect allegory for our inner struggles with our own duality — our inner dragon.
“The dragon was born in the youth of the East, a creature engendered between inward fear and outward peril, was nurtured among prehistoric wanderers, and has survived in the hinterlands of ignorance and superstition because it embodied the underlying principle of all morality–the eternal contrast and contest between Good and Evil, typified by the incessant struggle of man with the forces of nature and with his twofold self. ” [Ingersoll, 1928]
What about the dragon can we strive for? The dragon’s long sinuous tale & spine symbolize a serpent-like flexibility physically and emotionally. The sturdy bones and muscular strength of the dragon epitomize physical endurance. Their cat-like eyes allow in much more light than the human eye, and the dragon’s breath of fire is transformative. So, as you go about your day or flow through your practice, be the dragon. Feel strong, yet flexible. Allow the fire of transformation to bring you to your renewed awareness of self and allow more light to shine in.
With thanks to Leigh Anne of Nirvana Yoga in Atlanta & Sean Tebor.
- Your Charmed Yogi