Friday, July 2, 2010

The Journey

I returned to the yoga studio today. Somehow the days slipped by with biking and walking and not yoga. "Somehow" is a cop out. There was no yoga because I didn't do yoga. No somehow about it.

Anyway, I always think that the one hour Friday morning class will be easy because it's an hour. Oh, no. Think again. Teacher and I both want me to get into forearm balance, which meant lots of dolphin and plank. And my favorite flow from parsvakonasana into ardha chandrasana, which felt much stronger and graceful than it has in the past. And I was able to do all my chaturanga dandhasanas with straight legs and then flip up into up-dog without dropping my hips and legs to the ground. It took some brute strength but I'll get to the graceful flow soon enough.

Then we worked on my forearm balance. I can get to down dog, and shift forward to put my shoulders about my elbows, and there the weakness sets in. My arms and shoulders and hands that feel so strong in other poses, just start to feel so weak. So we work. I lift one leg up, then the other. Then rest. Then do head stand to get me upside down, to work on lifting my shoulderblades up (down) my back. Then shoulderstand with my triceps pleading with me to be done.

At the end of Savasana, my teacher read this poem:
The Journey, by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.
So, I'm off to stride deeper and deeper into the world, determined to save the only life I can save.

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