Why Shed our Skin?
I was walking along the rocky patio of my childhood home (Seven Springs Retreats) a few weeks ago, when something caught my eye. Wedged between two rocks the shiny translucent scales of a snakeskin peeked out. I reached down to grasp it, and I was amazed as foot after foot gingerly slid free. For what seemed like hours I stood there, thinking of the skins I've shed on this land. The image of Kali is strong in my mind. Burn it away, burn it all away, if it doesn’t serve you then burn it away! A challenge.
It was obvious how the serpent had slithered its way through the crevice, finding gentle assistance from mother nature’s rocks to leave its old skin behind. I imagine the agility of this dance between snake and rocks, and the apparent ease at which the snake’s old skin is released. The snake begins the shedding process at the head, and as it moves forward the skin is peeled away.
As humans this happens constantly on a physical, and also on a spiritual level. The skin on our body is constantly shedding, but are we consciously releasing as we shed? What are those parts of us that are shadowing our brilliant light inside? We can consciously shed our shadows every moment, bringing more and more light from within and out. Whether you cleanse through burning, washing, or burying into the Pachamama, practices of letting go to shed the old are important in our life.
I picked up the skin and looked closely. If you’ve ever touched a snake skin, you notice its strength is in its delicacy. The skin provided firm protection, and when released, the skin’s toughness becomes gentle, it's fragility is exposed.
Studying the skin from tail to head, I discovered one of the most remarkable details. Maybe I’ve never taken the time to notice this, or maybe it wasn’t so impactful when I was younger, but I found that even the eyes of the snake shed skin.
Eyes can shed skin! What an amazing concept, both physically and philosophically. We humans shed skin cells on a regular basis, but snakes shed their entire skin up to several times a month, including from their eyes. What if we humans shed the skin from our eyes to see with a new brightness and a new clarity?
I closed my own eyes, channeling the snake’s skin shedding dance. Releasing with such ease and grace to finally go beyond what may be clouding my vision, both external as well as internal. Shedding the veil of my Third Eye Ajna Chakra ... as we humans begin the practice of consciously shedding our skin, releasing what no longer serves us, what an even greater challenge to focus that intention on shedding from our eyes, our vision.
Try a shedding meditation in your practice, or just while you are sitting quietly somewhere.
First, identify what you wish to let go of, big or small, there is no right or wrong. Set your intention of release with ease.
Then, feel that thing you are letting go of, give it gratitude for its lessons. Maybe they are painful or maybe they are joyous. Notice, but don’t allow judgement to fill your mind.
Focus and move that feeling into your Third Eye. Allow the powerful inner connection of your Ajna Chakra to beam brilliant white light into that feeling.
As that inner light pierces your shadows, feel how that feeling moves from deep inside of you out towards your external layers, your skin.
Now you are able to see that which you are letting go of, maybe it’s old and dry, or maybe its still fresh. If it doesn’t become a visible layer, send more light into that veil to dry it out.
Allow the separation of that external layer with your inner being. With ease of steady exhales, visualize this full veil of skin shedding from your body.
elease expectations. If this meditation does not allow for you to shed yet, don’t judge yourself. Don’t try harder. Instead, find ease and patience in your practice.
When the snake sheds its skin, it is not left bare. The smooth and bright skin that was underneath it all that time is gently revealed. In the same way, we shed our shadows to expose the light that is within us at all times. The more we let go, the more we reveal the infinite beauty of our core fractal of love and light.
What doesn’t serve you today? Feel the agility of the serpent rubbing up against the crevice of a rock. Find your dance, and consciously shed it away!
Jessi teaches a Vinyasa based practice to combine elements of dance and natural movement with traditional yogic sequencing. She incorporates attention to rhythm of the breath, and allows for organic movement to flow in each pose. She is grateful for the journey of yogic creativity and loves to share this movement of bliss with others along the way.
For half of the year, Jessi lives and teaches in Guatemala. Six years ago, she founded JUSTA, a holistic network that connects indigenous artisans, global designers, and projects that promote self-sustaining development, creative expression, and holistic empowerment within family and community. Learn more about JUSTA here.