Saturday, February 25, 2012

Stillness


A couple days a week I push myself out of bed at 4:30 AM. I pile my hair up in a messy ponytail and grab my little blue mat.  I head downstairs.  The house is dark and quiet; the rare moment of the day when no one is cooking, running the washing machine or watching TV.  I begin cross legged, rubbing my hands together to start the blood and energy flowing. In between deep breathes I silently repeat the mantra Ham-sa. I am That.  All my hopes and dreams-I am that. 

I slowly rise and move through a series of moves; I am a mountain. I am a warrior. I am a hero. I  am a child.  I try to hold each pose one second longer than before. One more second of pushing myself through a wall. I let my muscles shake, knowing this pressure, this endurance is making them strong. I dig my toes into the mat, planting a better foundation; I am a tree with roots.

I breathe deeply and with control. I let air cycle through my lungs.  I lean down. I am a triangle. I see a scar on my leg, a reminder of an accident years ago. But that was the person I was, not the person I am becoming. The past, present and future all meeting together on that sticky mat. I finish with sun salutations, for I believe that the sun should be greeted politely and often. I find myself again cross legged on the mat. My eyes are closed; I let myself sink into the stillness.

Yoga doesn’t come easy to me.  I fall over, I’m not quite flexible to do some of moves (my leg goes where?). But these {very} early mornings are teaching me about stillness, which for this anxious soul is a hard lesson. One of the ancient origins of yoga is to stretch the body for meditation, to train the body to be still. Quickly plummeting myself from one pose to another as fast as I can would do little good.  The movements must be controlled. The poses must be held. I move then I stop moving. I am still. I am in control. For those few moments, I have stopped the universe. 

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