The summer is rapidly passing into fall, as it always seems to do this time of year, at least in New England. The days are getting noticeably shorter and the leaves are starting to fall in clumps from our old apple tree. I have just two more weeks left of teaching yoga classes in a field nearby my home, and already I am missing it.
Each Friday morning I have been waking early to greet the day with my fellow yogis. Before the sun rises past the treeline to dry the grass beneath, we roll out our mats and blankets on the moist earth. I like to arrive early, taking my time to walk down the road with my bag slung over my shoulder like a hobo. I take with me sometimes more than I need. Ties to use for straps; a solar speaker that sometimes works — today it did not; a chime for heralding the start of class, which I have never needed play; a portable headset, new and also unused. Today, after class, I took the chime and headset out, allowing the bag to be lighter for the last two weeks.
I also took my flipflops off early, at the edge of the roadside, and walked the long grass in an embrace of the senses. The cold dew waking through the soles my thirsty feet seeking connection. I think of the long winter ahead and relish the contact with the living land. I have learned that I prefer the ground to the mat, my body moving of its own accord off the artificial surface to step into the pose of warrior and mountain. There is a strength to be found through direct contact.
Practicing yoga outdoors comes with its challenges and gifts. The ground is uneven, and one cannot help but notice the imperfections of its surface. Or is it perfection? The sometimes not-so-subtle play of life occurs regardless of your presence. Crows argue loudly in the trees. Hawks screech overhead in search of their next meal. Spiders sail webs between grass blades. I am a sucker for wildlife. Today, my eyes watched a tiny yellow arachnid jump the green stems between me and my students for a few moments. Above their heads, my gaze searched the trees for the chattering birds. I find I am filled with joy when others also stop to listen and gaze. Their faces mirroring a delight that cannot be found inside artificial walls.
How can I not miss these Friday mornings in the fields? I think, perhaps, I’ll even miss the trucks lumbering by, causing my voice to stretch its limitations. The sun, sometimes too warm when it crests the trees, drawing sweat from my pores. And that long, wet grass, which makes my feet tingle with life. I’ll miss the end of class when there is always at least one student lingering to share life. I do not worry so much about time on these mornings. It passes as it will, and there is always enough to spare. Each moment flowing into the next more like a stream than a rushing river.