October 16, 2013

Yoga in Space. 5 Life Lessons From the Movie Gravity.

Gravity, Warner Brothers Pictures

It’s the little things each day, each moment, that matter.

If you haven’t seen the Movie Gravity yet, try to find it in IMAX. It’s a pretty amazing visual experience.

This seemingly simple story had some powerful truths. Granted it’s possible I think too much and I had been working on my next book about the chakra system before I watched it.

But here are some unexpected yogic principles from Gravity.

1. In space, no one can hear you bitch.

Boredom is an early sign of depression, and Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is bored.

She complains a lot, and does not feel like she has much to live for, even though she is one of the most privileged humans on or off earth. She wakes up to the most amazing view every morning and gets to live a dream hardly anyone ever will. And yet to her it’s just a job.

“I hate space.”

~ Dr. Ryan Stone

Most of the time I don’t think about how privileged I am. We can travel around the country by car or plane. We have access to amazing comforts like electricity, running water, Whole Foods and highly comfortable yoga pants. All things most people in the world do not have.

What do you take for granted each day?

2. Work the lower chakras.

Gravity may seem like an action move, because—it is. But it’s also about the psychology that makes someone just survive their experience or transcend. In yogic terms Ryan has some lower chakra issues. She has no excitement in her life (a second chakra awareness), because she is still stuck in the Root chakra. She is pulled down even while she is weightless in space. Her depression has placed her in the lowest vibration, just barely surviving.

We have all been there. Unfortunately to get us to start to elevate out of it, the universe will often send us a wake up call.

“Houston, I have a bad feeling about this mission.”

~ Matt

3. Let go when things fall apart.

The wake-up call comes for Ryan and everything literally falls apart. But even while things are disintegrating around her, she is still stuck in victim mentality. Her survival instincts don’t even kick in until she is pulled out of her stupor by the commanding officer Matt (George Clooney) who orders her to snap out of it and let go of what she is attached to in order to save herself.

Yes, as usual George clooney is playing: George clooney; suave, and cool under pressure, with fabulous immaculate hair even under a helmet. He can keep it light, even while things are dramatically exploding all around him.

But now this attitude makes sense. It’s not that he doesn’t care, it’s that he is operating on a higher level of awareness and is no longer attached, like someone who sees through the illusion but still plays the game. Throughout the movie, he literally helps Ryan to move forward and get out of her head, by pulling her along with humor and stories, much like a zen master.

“Did you find the vodka?”

~ Matt

4. Root down to rise up.

You either let your lower impulses keep you down or you use them to rise up. Something finally clicks in Ryan. The shift seems to have happened when she has to let go of Matt.

When she does, she is able to start to harness her fear and become resourceful in amazing ways.

“You have to learn to let go.”

~ Matt

5. Don’t collapse. Expand.

I wont ruin the ending. Ryan learns to use her instincts and work with gravity. The pull of gravity is a good metaphor for the pull of the lower chakras. We can let our emotions crush us or we can harness that power. Much of yoga is working with the pull of gravity, through yoga asanas, breathing and mental shifts. Rather than collapsing, as is our natural tendency, expand and root down to rise up.

It’s the little things each day, each moment, that matter.

Do you feel the need for control or carry the heaviness of your past with you until you are forced to give into gravity? Or are you learning to let go and rise?

“It’s time to stop driving. It’s time to go home.”

~ Ryan

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Ed: Catherine Monkman

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