Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Practice report, experience of being in a female body

Practice this morning was very interesting. To begin with, I started out with very low energy. I felt like going back to bed, but made myself step on the mat anyway. I'm not sure why my energy was low; maybe it's the impending new moon, and the fact that the moon is presently waning. And it appears that my energy was lower than usual today. Usually, even if I start out with low energy, it would have picked up by the end of the Suryas. But today, the low energy persisted well into primary. This happened, despite the fact that I did the usual vinyasas with all the jump-throughs and jump-backs, which usually would have been more than sufficient to wake me up. In fact, in Marichysana C, a voice inside me was saying: "Maybe you should pack up after this posture, and go take a nap?"

Fortunately, I was stubborn enough not to listen to this voice. I moved through the rest of primary and did second up to pincha mayurasana; by the time I got through kapotasana, I was feeling great! (I mean, if kapo doesn't wake me up... I'm probably in serious trouble).

But the coolest thing in today's practice happened during the finishing sequence. Warning: I'm going to try to describe this experience in the plainest language, because I don't think there is any other way to do it justice. If you are the sort of person who is easily offended by, uh, plain language, please read no further. Consider yourself warned.

In urdhva padmasana in the shoulderstand sequence, I suddenly realized that I could really feel my mula bandha. I felt that some subtle layer of muscle between the genitalia and the anus was very subtly withdrawing into my body as I inhaled, and maybe withdrawing even more as I exhaled. At that very moment, I had this funny thought: It occurred to me that if I had a cervix, I would be contracting the cervix right at that moment. But of course I don't have a cervix, which is what made the thought weirder. I wonder if this means that females have a certain advantage over males in assessing mula bandha, just because for females, there is a precise anatomical point (the cervix) with which to locate mula bandha. If you don't know what I'm talking about, this might be helpful. Below is a diagram of mula bandha from Brook's mulabloga blog:

As Brooks helpfully notes, mula bandha is physically correlated with location (2), which is "the cervix, between the vagina and womb."

Interesting. This might be the closest I've ever gotten to having an out-of-body experience: In this case, I experienced what it might have been like to be in a female body, even if only for 10 breaths :-)  

I can probably wax lyrical about this for a while, but I need to go prepare for class now. May the Force be with you.


  1. It makes sense to me that you might feel it in that pose! It's interesting that it also became a gender exploration for you. Practice is so cool.

  2. Yes, Brooks, practice is indeed very cool. Experiences such as this make me feel that the practice enables us to experience many lifetimes and bodies within one lifetime and one body :-)

  3. we have 3 holes!?!?! how!?????