The interior's spaciousness and organic shapes resonated with me as I found myself thinking that we were in a redwood forest. Above us were the canopies created by ancient branches that allowed light to peak through and brighten the tiny beings wandering beneath. As I continued to experience the space, the once-hard surfaces began to appear as soft, as though I were inside the ocean, under the tentacles of a school of dancing jellyfish. Yet again my perceptions changed and I imagined we were inside a human body, experiencing the spaces between the organs, veins, ligaments, and bones. The experience was grounding and calming to my external senses and to my internal body - a word for which I have no description.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower on the flight. In the film, one of the three main characters, a young woman, stands in the back of her step-brother's pick-up truck while they drive through a tunnel. She spreads her arms and leans into the wind. Their new friend, the film's main protagonist, watches her with worry and a bit of envy, and we hear his thoughts, "We are infinite".
Later in the film, after much soul-searching, the protagonist is inspired to crawl out the pick-up's back window to feel the same freedom, something he has been searching for since his childhood. "And in that moment, I swear we were infinite." Through soul-searching and a great effort in learning to breath, he found spaciousness. No longer was he a victim of his past, which blocked his ability to engage in the present.
In this chapter Iyengar writes, "Before our consciousness finally gravitates to our Self and our Self is merged in the Infinite, there are many fine threads to be woven together into a shimmering cloth of our practice." The word "Infinite" grabbed my attention as I had just watched the film earlier that day. I continued to read, "...The final element that corresponds with the final sheath of bliss is called "space" and allows mobility and freedom in all the others. Space is the most subtle and pervasive element, and we must learn to tame it." Instantly I thought of Gaudi's cathedral and to my surprise within the next paragraph Iyengar writes, "The amount of matter inside an atom is equivalent to a tennis ball inside a Cathedral, so our atoms, and therefore we, are almost entirely space."
An interesting coincidence that Iyengar uses "Cathedral" as a metaphor for space. Or was it a coincidence? Three paragraphs later Iyengar writes, "The great Catalan architect Gaudi, for example, said that architecture is a creative relationship between the sensuousness of Nature and the austerity of geometry. This is a theme that runs through yoga practice. My attempts systematically to impose symmetry on asana postures expresses this relationship. And, as with the architect, the concept of space is fundamental. A vase, like a building, like a body, has two spaces - the one that it contains and the one that surrounds it."
Now when I practice asanas and pranayama, I reference these ideas, recognizing that the Sagrad Familia, "Sacred Family" is the relationship of all my internal space, to the external space, to breath, and to all beings. The spaciousness is both in us and around us, "we are infinite."