February 1, 2011

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Hello friends –

Thanks so much for the kind words these past days.  They warm my heart, buoy my spirits, and are truly appreciated.

Something else that keeps me aloft, and that I mentioned in that last post, is yoga.  I began practicing eleven years ago, answering the call to a $5 class at a tiny hot yoga studio on Ankeny Street here in Portland.  That first time was a singular experience.  The room was crowded with people, and I worked earnestly and completely alone for ninety minutes, sweat dripping from every pore.   It felt wonderful, and I enjoyed this new and sometimes baffling way of moving my body: the clarity and stillness of mind, and the particular sense that I found something right for me.

This sense of right came from the fact that I was not yearning to be elsewhere or wondering how much longer it would take.  I was immersed in being the postures.  I was (and remain) gratified, intrigued, interested, and excited by my body and its capabilities (more with each day, though sometimes less – it’s funny like that).  With every other form of exercise, save walking, it is a means to an end with a hyper awareness of time.  One dozen bicep curls, a hundred sit-ups, a thirty minute run, spin on the elliptical, or row.  Everything is measured.

With yoga, I choose a sequence, and go.  I honestly have no sense of time, only the flow of the postures, the challenge and sheer pleasure of each asana.  It is never a nuisance or a chore to practice, and a day with yoga is always better than a day without, no matter how troubled my mind.  I am nourished, relaxed, and rejuvenated, if only during the space of my practice.  It tickles me pink as a summer peony.

There is an expression (Buddhist, I think), “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Yoga is my teacher.  It opens my heart, teaches me patience and perseverance, and gives me a flexibility and strength I never imagined possible. With yoga, I am better able to see with clarity, live in the moment, and love what IS.  So much for just twisting like a pretzel!

p.s. Yesterday was number seven of twenty-one of the challenge.  I am in love and held a back bend, with a smile on my face, for one long minute.  It doesn’t get much better, at least for now…

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