Magical Mornings #yoga #natureyoga

Photo Credit Pixabay

I was a little apprehensive when I agreed to teach a fall yoga series outdoors, continuing the summer mornings in the field into the chilly lazy dawn of autumn. Cold is not something I relish, and thoughts of ice-tipped blades of grass pulled me inward to the comfort of the hearth fire. Yet, I have found that agreeing to walk the path of potential discomfort often yields the greatest and most unexpected rewards. As the heart opens to trust, magic unfolds. And so, after a brief interlude of transition, Tuesday morning yoga in the field continued at 8:30am.

The sun crests the canopy of pines ever more slowly as the days shorten in length. Unlike during our summer classes when we nestled into the far corner to avoid the boiling sun, on the first day of our fall session we laid our mats near the parking lot in the hopes of catching the first rays whenever they chose to stretched their languid arms over the tree line. There were just three of us, a trinity of yogis. Where were the others on the list? I wondered until I let worry give way to the flow of the elements and the dance of the body that is yoga took over.

Midway through class, we straightened our spines into balanced as the sun broke the cold of the morning to bring its golden face above our crowning bodies. It was not planned, yet perfectly timed. In these moments, time stills as we open to the embrace that is life. It is beautiful to bear witness, and even more beautiful to take part. One cannot help but breathe more deeply into the space of joy and the knowing that the self has been brought out of the shadows into unity. Separation slips way and division dissolves. In the imperfection of the individual dance, once finds the perfection of Life.

We are now three weeks into our fall session, and each Tuesday I wake to meet the habit of reluctance as I check the weather through the gray light of the waking dawn. Donning the increase of layers on all but my feet, I sink into the knowing that my soles will soon meet the bracing grass. I don’t know what will await me, but so far I have been lucky. Frost has not yet spread ice over the land.

I like to arrive at the field down the road from my house early, allowing for the quiet stillness of solitude as I drink in the morning air. Realizing, as I stand amid a frame of pines and listen to the soft pulse of nature around me, that I would likely not be outside at this hour practicing yoga if I had not said yes to another class in the field. Realizing, that instead I would probably be sitting with my computer on my lap, occasionally looking out at, but not a part of, the natural world surrounding me.

Our yoga classes are full now, after the first week of transitions and coming back to the fall of routine. We form a semicircle of unity, each bringing our individual light to the breaking dawn and finding warmth in companionship as we stretch our bodies into heat. Inevitably, the sun rises over the treetops at the moment when our faces lift to feel its warmth. Nothing is preplanned as destiny takes over. Yesterday, in our moment of raising our eyes toward the blue beyond, a flock of two dozen geese or more flew overhead. They were flying low, having just come from the pond below, bringing the element of water to the sky as we stood upon the earth and and warmed our skins to the sun’s fiery rays. You don’t get moments like this indoors inside four walls with windows and a floor that separates the individual from the pulse of the living planet.

There was lingering yesterday, as we rolled mats and folded blankets. There was reluctance to put on shoes and  hoist our belongings back to our cars to resume our separate lives. Pairs formed to talk  while the cells on the surface of skin drank in the sun’s warmth. No one was in a hurry to return to the daily actions of the mundane. For a few more moments the living, breathing present was embraced as the gift it is, always open to be received.

The gift of a week with a sick teenage daughter

I’m sitting here on the couch with my computer. It’s rainy outside. One dog is sleeping on one couch, the other beside me. Millie the queen kitten is perched on the top of her condo, also curled into sleep, and the fire is breathing hot orange flames inside the pellet stove. I’ve already been into town to restock the meager shelves in the fridge and pantry, and there’s a long list of to-dos that has accumulated over the past seven days. Seven days that I have spent with my sick teenage daughter.

Zelda on her couch

The house is quiet and still. Too quiet and still. My daughter is back at school and I miss her. I miss getting up five minutes after I’ve sat down in an attempt to get some of my personal work done to retrieve the tissue box. I miss boiling water for tea, heating up soup, microwaving the lavender scented neck pillow, fetching the kitten, wrapping my daughter in blankets, giving her reiki, hugging her fevered body in my arms, reading to her, playing cards with her, binge watch Grey’s Anatomy with her, fetching her pills, boiling more water for tea, and trying my best to talk my daughter’s sleep deprived mind through her fears.

My sick daughter with Millie the kitten

Although seeing your child suffer through an illness pretty much sucks, I don’t want to trade the past week back. Okay, maybe I’d trade in my daughter’s suffering, but that’s it. Why? because I am fully aware of how blessedly lucky I am to have had seven full days (and nights 😉 with my teenage daughter. A rare gift indeed.

Rosy the dog on the couch beside me

In these past seven days I was reminded of how wonderful it is to be a mother, and my daughter’s mother specifically, in all its challenges and blessings. I was reminded that my daughter is not really mine to hold onto forever. That one day in the not too distant future, she will follow her own life path beyond the front door we currently share. And, I was reminded of how fortunate I am to be a mother who can rather seamlessly set aside her work to tend to her child. I know many parents are not so lucky. My own memories of being home sick from school include lying on a couch in a neighbor’s home at a much younger age than my daughter’s, wishing my own mother could be with me.

Queen Millie

This past month I have allowed myself to be pulled into the moment of being a caregiver. First, to vigilantly watch over young Millie who is now fearlessly ruling the house. Both of the dogs, the cat, and her four humans are now fully under her command. This past week,  to tend to my sick daughter. In these many days, I have felt the raw, beautiful essence of life more times than I have counted. Real life. Without the distraction of  striving and wanting. Of worrying or pining for a future that may never come. Or being pulled back into a time that will never return. The only distraction allowed was what was right in front of me. The present of each moment. Even though the outer wrapping changed, what was inside never did. I am your gift of the present. Live with me fully. I am all you get and nothing more. But, I am always just enough. I am always, just what you need. Unwrap me and live fully with me. The gift inside is always the same.