The sound of silence? Not quite. At 8:00 am, the temperature was exquisitely balmy on the front deck, so I filled the bird bath, swept away the leaf litter, and rolled out the yoga mat. Got through half a Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) before the bird songs all around distracted me. I thought “I could just run inside, add them to the yard list, then finish the other Sun Salutation undistracted”. Nice try. I let go of those thoughts and surrendered back into the present moment.
There’s a move called Open Book that I learned and incorporated into my practice years ago. Following the initial Prayer Position (Namaskar) I open my palms face up with pinkies together, like an open book. The accompanying prayer goes something like “Life, work through me today. Take and use my gifts.” Near the end of the sequence, before the final Prayer Position, I repeat Open Book. This time I think “Life, work through me today. Bring the gifts that I need.”
Relaxing near the end of my never-the same-way-twice practice, I lay face down in Crocodile Pose (Makrasana) breathing in the scents of earthy forest, feeling the warmth of sun melt my back, and taking in all the sounds around me. A buzzing Carpenter bee above. Killdeer down towards the river. Red-bellied woodpecker hammering away at a tree 3 feet from my head – I could feel the vibrations!
A vehicle crunched it’s way down the gravel road, then I heard a gunshot. Rats! My mind sprung off the yoga mat towards the reason for the shot, wondering if anything had been killed, and why in blazes would my neighbor fire a round off at 8:30 in the morning while I’m peacefully communing with Nature!? I brought myself back to stillness, not judging, just noticing. For a few easy breaths . . .
There was so much happening within earshot that I flipped over to stare up through the leafy green canopy into blue sky. Focused on my breathing and letting go of thoughts. Then I heard a stomp. And a rustle. Turned my head to spy a White-tailed deer silhouetted by the rising sun. Sat straight up now! Four more deer appeared on the ridge I had climbed yesterday to photograph the cabin. The lead deer and I watched one another, not warily, just with awareness of the other for several minutes. I melted into love for that creature and the Oneness of all. “I love you. I am you.”
Dogs bounded from my landlady’s porch to bark at the deer. Whoosh! They disappeared down the backside of the ridge. And I disappeared into the house to share the fruits of my practice with all of you. May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you live with ease.
Think: How do you typically start your day? How about taking 5 minutes or more to sit quietly with yourself before momentum carries you away? Notice what’s there (inside and outside).
Say: Tell Life (or your Higher Power) what you have to offer today. Ask for what you need.
Do: Stretch yourself! Join a yoga class or practice on your own. Yoga is not really about the movements, though. It’s about being aware of and finding acceptance and gratitude for all that is while you move through your days. With more and more ease.