Friday, December 19, 2014

The Symbolism of the Sheepskin



The Symbolism of the Sheepskin



Through the ages, yogis have sat on animal skins for meditation. In the story of Gideon in the Hebrew Bible, a sheepskin was selected as a sacred sign between Gideon and God in Gideon’s request for a second witness of the Lord’s words:
Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. (Judges 6:37)
It is traditional (though not required) for many Kundalini Yoga practitioners to sit on a sheepskin while meditating and practicing yoga. The sheepskin is great for yoga because is soft and comfortable for the ankles. Yogi Bhajan recommended sheepskin for meditation because it is a natural fiber, it grounds the practitioner, and it blesses and liberates the soul of the dead animal. Indeed, many people experience deeper states of connection to God when using a sheepskin rather than a sticky yoga mat[1] or cushion.
I find it difficult to ignore the symbolism of the sheepskin. Starting in the days of Adam, men were required to offer a blood sacrifice to God—an unblemished, first-born male animal, which of course, was symbolic of the sacrifice of the coming Christ. Then Jesus fulfilled this law and ended the need for blood sacrifice:
And ye shall offer up unto me no more the shedding of blood; yea, your sacrifices and your burnt offerings shall be done away. . . . And ye shall offer for a sacrifice unto me a broken heart and a contrite spirit. And whoso cometh unto me with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, him will I baptize with fire and with the Holy Ghost. (3 Nephi 9:19–20)  

One student, Kylie, described her relationship with sheepskin as follows: “I got sheepskin and used it first on a new moon. I had a big realization that His sacrifice is the foundation that makes my sacrifice possible. He is our foundation for progression and enlightenment. It makes it all the more meaningful to sit on a literal foundation reminding me of the ultimate sacrifice upon which all my life and progression rest. So great!” [2]

[1]It is said that synthetic yoga mats can shrink the aura by one third.
[2] Personal communication via Facebook group. Accessed March 8, 2014.

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