Glyphs and Maps by  Nevine Michaan , Illustrated by  Susan Fierro  

Glyphs and Maps by Nevine Michaan, Illustrated by Susan Fierro 

First nature is what I inherit in the form of my body, my heart that beats, and my lungs that breathe… Second nature is what I learn and eventually master through practice, such as reading, riding a bicycle, driving a car, doing asana... In Nevine’s Magic Square, the left eye (4), left hand (3) and left foot (8) represent first nature. The right eye (2), right hand (7) and right foot (6) represent second nature. Both are Explicit; they are visible and physical. They are real. Third nature is identified with choice, will power, self-identity, thoughts and ideas. They are implicit and are not physically observable. I am not born able to ride a bike (first nature), but through learning and practice, I get to know how to ride (second nature). Once I know how to ride, I choose where I ride and find joy in riding through mountains, cities, etc. and at what pace I bike (third nature). My third eye (9) visualized as a prism of various angles of perception, third hand (5) represented by a sphere of mediation, and my third foot (1), which is my root, my Axis Mundi going to the earth; all represent third nature.

In practice, having divided my body into the trinity of primal, communal and astral, stability on earth is having a ground of being; the trinity of my ground floor, rooms (6), (1) and (8). Nevine talks about yoga practice as 1/3 kick, 1/3 stroke and 1/3 breath. Stability in my practice means being able to have a firm kick. It is stability in time and as time moves, it can be visualized as a STEP as shown in her glyph above. The present becomes memory and memory potentiates future. The ball of the feet is potential and the heel is the past while the arch mediates the present. I visualize my 3 angles of perception from being acute, right angle and obtuse as I take my step. Ball, arch, heel! 

The right foot (6) is risk taking, representing the character of virility and going for an adventure, putting my best foot forward. As Nevine would say: “It is sexy to foot the bill!” Six is the contact of gender, represented by two triangles intersecting each other. Room (1) is the first gate, my umbilical cord with my mother when I was born, my engendered root. My soul is embodied as a seed in one, a point, from The Archetype of Numbers. I take time to meditate on this glyph. Each time I deepen my insight. Room (8) is my inheritance, my maternal root and represented by a cube. It is my embodiment into the form of my body, my first nature. I willfully substantiate the goals I set in (2) but once I embody my goals, I willingly practice them. As an example, in my yoga, initially I willfully do my daily practice. In time, I willingly practice as I find joy and awaken to the abundance of life! Up next: Ability on the second floor.

*Originally posted at Teach.Yoga

Note: The teachings, metaphors and language of Katonah Yoga as I share in this journey are by Nevine Michaan and her teachers. Any omissions and errors are mine.

Eva Giorgi