The weather this month has been anything but usual. Here in Oregon, we have been warm with little precipitation. Our mountains have maybe 15% of the snowpack they should have, our rivers are low, the rain comes in a misty drizzle. While I was in Pennsylvania the weather was odd; minus zero temps, little snow, lots of sunshine.
But on my yoga mat I find stability in my own weather patterns. The fluctuations remind me to return to my breath, to return to the only thing that seeks my attention, the present moment.
This month’s poem comes from my sunrise yoga practice, from within the storm.
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A Piece of the Storm
By Mark Strand
From the shadow of domes in the city of domes,
A snowflake, a blizzard of one, weightless, entered your room
And made its way to the arm of the chair where you, looking up
From your book, saw it the moment it landed.
That’s all There was to it. No more than a solemn waking
To brevity, to the lifting and falling away of attention, swiftly,
A time between times, a flowerless funeral. No more than that
Except for the feeling that this piece of the storm,
Which turned into nothing before your eyes, would come back,
That someone years hence, sitting as you are now, might say:
‘It’s time. The air is ready. The sky has an opening.’
Donning my yoga mat as I crawl out of my tent, I stroll out from under the canopy of trees and into the open meadow before me. As the sun slowly ascends the tree line the cool early morning air invigorates and invites me to begin. Inhaling a deep, woodsy-infused breath I slowly raise my arms overhead welcoming the day, resting my hands at heart center. I settle into Tadasana, grounding and centering into the mountain I stand upon, connecting with its energy.
Rays cascade through branches, landing gently across my mat as I fold into standing forward bend. I step back and extend into downward facing dog, an ant strolling across my mat providing the opportunity to completely exhale, celebrating my breath in the exchange of life I share with the trees that surround me. I inhale into cobra lifting my gaze to the periwinkle sky above as it gives way to a richer shade of blue. Bees and insects buzz in the clover around my mat. Rising once more, the air and my body warming in unison, birdsong serenades my spirit.
As I gently flow in and out of each pose earth, sky and all creatures in between bear witness to my practice. I lower to my mat as the sun crests the treetops, settling into Savasana, my hands resting lightly in the damp grass alongside me. My body cradled within the curves of the earth, I softly smile, awake, renewed and aligned with the day. Good Morning!