In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Enveloped.”
High in the Himalayan mountains there is said to be a practice that uses the inner heat or ‘tum-mo’, to warm the body. The skilled meditators sit wrapped in cold wet sheets outside in the freezing winter and over come the cold with such skill that the inner body heat warms, and then actually dries the sheet on their unclad bodies. You can learn more about this practice here in an article written by the Harvard Gazette.
For most of us however, we don’t have control over our bodies inner heat, we have to depend on heaters and others ways to envelope ourselves with warmth. One of the best ways is to use a shawl or Pashmina, a popular wrap the comes from Tibet or Nepal made of cashmere. These shawls are light weight, soft and perfect to envelope the meditator in a blanket of warmth, especially after sitting still long enough to cause the heart to slow and the body to become sensitive to chill.
The shawl is a very traditional way to keep warm, and in fact emulates the nuns and monks robes which they wear every day when practicing. When I go on retreat I make sure to always take at least one Pashmina and during the winter months I use mine as a big, warm scarf when wearing my coat against the cold winter chilly winds in my area. I remember the first time I was introduced to them during a 10 day retreat in the Catskills where the morning classes started at 7:00 am and it was really chilly. All the Tibetan women came from their tents or cabins wrapped in beautiful and colorful Pashminas. I couldn’t wait to get my own. When you sit in a lotus posture during meditation, they drape perfectly over your shoulders, arms, legs and feet, holding you in a tent of warmth.
You can find these beautiful shawls either in your local import store, a temple of retreat center, or online. One beautiful site is pashmina.com where you can learn the history and about the beautiful work that goes into creating them.
Cashmere with Soul…
Ask yourself: “Why am I allowed to have a piece of cashmere heaven?” When you experience the super soft Chyangra cashmere wool, found only in the high mountain plateaus of the Himalayas and hand-woven by Nepali artisans, you will know why our work is so important and why you must have Pashm & Co. among your heirloom garments.
A good wool shawl will last for years, cover your head in rain, keep the cold away from the head and neck in winter, and keep your body enveloped in warmth when meditating on those chilly mornings, and look beautiful even after being crushed in you bag all day. I have several and love every one of them as if they are a special friend.