In Hindu and Buddhist philosophy there is a god named Kala, the god of destruction. Like the gargoyles of Notre Dame cathedral, the image of Kala is often placed around buildings, especially near entrances to ward off evil spirits. Both Kala and the gargoyles of Paris remind us that sometimes we have to be fierce, even a little scary, to frighten off our so-called monsters and demons.
Of course in yoga it’s the poses that help us embody this fierce, monster-like quality we sometimes need to cultivate. Here is a brief guide to one of the most formidable poses in the asana canon. Commonly called Lion pose, I personally think of this as either Kala or Gargoyle pose. This is one you can really have fun with, especially if you have little ones.
Begin by sitting on your heels in a kneeling position on the floor. place your hands on your knees or on the floor just in front of you. Make sure your shoulders are relaxed and not lifting up towards your ears. Spread your fingers wide, like claws! Open your eyes and mouth as wide as you can, stick out your tongue, and ROAR! ROAR! ROAR! If you aren’t laughing by now, let go of trying to make the pose look “perfect” and just have fun with it – it’s Halloween, so make all the scary gargoyle faces you can come up with until you’re absolutely sure you’ve scared away any monsters that may have been hiding under the bed!
You may want to wind down with a gentle meditation or savasana to help settle the now-probably-giggling kiddos.
Remember you can cultivate the fierce lion-esque quality of Kala and the gargoyles any time you need – seriously, try doing this pose the next time you want another helping of that Halloween candy, and you might just decide you don’t need it after all.