Hide & Go Seek

IMG_9592No wind.  I walk like a sleuth out to the end of the dock and roll out my mat.  I get myself settled into a sitting position and briefly close my eyes.  Opening a moment later just to soak it all in.  The beauty is breathtaking.  Tall pines surround me at the edge the lake. It feels as if I have just sat down in a quiet, still cathedral.  Giant inhale, even bigger exhale.  Blessings being counted, feeling lucky to be here.

And so the day began, with my daily “dock yoga” as I call it.  People often ask me what my personal practice is like, so I thought I would share a glimpse into my practice while on my respite in Maine.

Back to closed eyes, centered breathing.  The water is so still that you can hear fish jump nearby and a loon calls to break the silence.  Must be time to move on to some gentle warm ups.  A little cat/cow, some lunging, twisting, longer held planks, and of course, downward dog.  Right leg wrapping around left–is this even yoga? I think to myself–well it feels good and I’m finding areas that are stuck–and I float into a side plank.  As my arm reaches high I feel like one with the trees, reaching tall, strong, yet bending, moving.

As I progress through the practice I am reminded of the days as a young child when I would visit my grandparents in the Bronx.  We play hide & go seek with our cousins in their basement, hiding in cupboards, under tables, anywhere.  On the mat I might suddenly find a spot–found ya–and hold it for longer, explore it, wiggle into something that feels like the perfect key to what is locked.  It’s an untamed, not always symmetrically balanced, practice that is my own exploration, a hide & go seek for my body.  And as my body is different every day, so is the practice.

In the quiet of the practice I find myself grieving the loss of my father.  I see the loon coming closer and think, “Dad, is that you?”  I feel tears trickle down my face.  Wiping them off, I carry on, “come back the breath” I tell myself, and I gently nudge myself back.  Moving through the emotions is part of the practice, so I embrace this as a sacred moment, a hide & go seek all its own.

After a few warriors of various types, I find myself in a wide-legged fold.  The world is upside down.  The lake is so calm that the reflection of the trees looks, from this angle, that it isn’t upside down at all.  Which one is real and which is not? Another game to explore…

Down to the mat for some deep hip and core work.  The intensity keeps me firmly planted in my body and I welcome the brief svasana I give myself.

Mind, body, spirit.  The practice never ceases to deliver, and on some magical days on the dock, even more so.

Are you ready for the eclipse?

partial-solar-eclipse-cloudsI’m on vacation this week, enjoying some wonderful lakeside R&R in Maine.  A beautiful spot not only for its physical beauty but its annual reminder to live more simply and in tune with nature.

I said good-bye to the folks in my yoga classes last week as I will not be teaching again until September.  It’s bittersweet, as it is my passion to share the mind/body/spiritual elements of the practice.  But this is my annual dive inward–practicing on a dock or a deck each day–just being, not doing a whole lot.  However, I will especially miss teaching during eclipse week in late August–which is kind of a big deal–likely the last full eclipse of the sun in my lifetime.  And I just cannot get Carly Simon’s lyrics from “You’re So Vain” out of my head when I write that (…then you flew your Lear jet up to Nova Scotia to see the total eclipse of the sun…).

I asked my classes last week in a “moon themed” class to imagine themselves, their shining gifts, their offering to this world, their pure radiance, as the light of the sun.  So beautiful, bright and stunning.  Now imagine the moon fully darkening that light as it would in an eclipse.  Doesn’t feel that good, does it?  And yet, this is our lives….we let so much get in the way of shining our brightest.

Maybe it is a lens–the lens of your life–that needs cleaning.  Seeing things a bit differently may be what is necessary.  Maybe it is a story that you’ve been holding onto, or something–anything–that isn’t serving you any longer.  Time to let it go and shift perspective.  Celebrate the eclipse by giving yourself permission to radiate to your fullest potential.

Remember, the actual eclipse is fleeting and the sun comes out the other side.