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The Poetry of Savasana: “A Little Bit About the Soul”

Although yoga practitioners have always harbored a strong affinity for poetry, with many teachers inclined to break out a poem either at the beginning or end of class, the current state of the world practically insists that we all wave our poetry flags high. Poetry, in these uncertain times, can be the words our souls clamor for.

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Here, a poem that we hope will broaden your horizons from Wislawa Szymborska, a Polish poet and essayist who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996, coupled with commentary from yoga teacher Claire Copersino, founder of North Folk Yoga Shala in Greenport, New York.

A Little Bit About the Soul

By Wisława Szymborska

A soul is something we have every now and then.

Nobody has one all the time
or forever.

Day after day,
year after year,
can go by without one.

Only sometimes in rapture
or in the fears of childhood
it nests a little longer.
Only sometimes in the wonderment
that we are old.

It rarely assists us
during tiresome tasks,
such as moving furniture,
carrying suitcases,
or traveling on foot in shoes too tight.

When we’re filling out questionnaires
or chopping meat
it’s usually given time off.

Out of our thousand conversations
it participates in one,
and even that isn’t a given,
for it prefers silence.

When the body starts to ache and ache
it quietly steals from its post.

It’s choosy:
not happy to see us in crowds,
sickened by our struggle for any old advantage
and the drone of business dealings.

It doesn’t see joy and sorrow
as two different feelings.
It is with us
only in their union.
We can count on it
when we’re not sure of anything
and curious about everything.

Of all material objects
it likes grandfather clocks
and mirrors, whi

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