The Seed of Yoga

This past weekend during my 500-hour teacher training, Denise Carrico came to talk to us about teaching yoga for people with cancer. Denise is a yoga teacher in the Integral tradition who has been teaching yoga for 20+ years and for people with cancer for 12 years at Seattle Cancer Lifeline in Phinney Ridge and 8 Limbs Yoga in West Seattle. She also leads free retreats for cancer patients at Harmony Hill in Western Washington’s Hood Canal.

Denise stressed the importance of empowering people who have been diagnosed with cancer who may have felt betrayed by their bodies and perhaps even other things, tangible and non-tangible. She then read a poem to us to demonstrate how to use imagery and poetry to do so.

I will not live an unlived life.
I will not live in fear of falling or catching fire.
I choose to inhabit my days,
to allow my living to open me,

to make me less afraid, more accessible,
to loosen my heart
until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise.
I choose to risk my significance;

to live,
so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom,
goes on as fruit.
—Dawna Markova

The next morning, on Sunday, our class read the Bhagavad Gita, and in chapter 10 of the translation by Eknath Easwarn, verse 39 read:

“I am the seed that can be found in every creature, Arjuna; for without me nothing can exist, neither animate for inanimate.” BG 10:39

This then reminded me of what Shinzen Young said in the very last minutes of his lectures in The Science of Enlightenment:

“When you let go of the need to know, then you will be able to see how space is produced from the activity of nothingness, and you’ll be able to also see how the activity of the pine tree arises as none other than yourself” – Sasaki Roshi, as quoted by Shinzen Young, chapter 12, the Science of Enlightenment

The image of the seed seems to be coming up a lot everywhere I look recently. How about you? What image do you find consistent in literature, yoga and otherwise?

Patience, grasshoppers, a seed will soon grow into a tree.

Patience, grasshoppers, a seed will soon grow into a tree.