Saturday, July 16, 2016

Gentle Flow

That's the name of my new favorite yoga class.  Last week I went to a vinyasa flow class, and it was so hard I was sore for two days afterwards.

So for now, it's back to Gentle Flow for me, a slower-paced, less intense vinyasa class.  "Honor your own journey, and enjoy it,". The teachers tell me.  Finally, at my now advanced age, I have internalized this wisdom.

Danni leas us through a five minute mediation and then we start with seats twists and side stretches.  Soon we are in Down Dog, and Forward Fold, then Plank, moving fluidly through the sequence that has become a refuge to me.  Last week, Danni asked me if yoga practice was "comfortable for you."  And today I discover that it is.  I find myself simply enjoying the feel of my body flowing from one pose to the next.

I also find that I am discovering as I move.  When the moves are easier, I can linger in each pose, and take the time to discover what it has to say to me.  I feel my body move as a breathe in and out, I can feel bone and ligament and organ respond to the moves.  And I can see my mind slowing down and healing.

Too soon, Danni directs us to Shavansana.  I have an exquisite moment of purity, laying there on my mat, looking up at the skylight in the roof of the studio.  There are broken clouds in the sky and the light changes as I watch my breath come and go.  Then we bring hands to heart and say Namaste.

As of today, and I think because of how this session went, I feel like I have a yoga practice; a constant presence in my life that is a refuge, a challenge, and a spiritual journey.


Work is done for the day and I'm at home, making dinner.  At 7:30 in the evening, the light is just beginning to fade, and fat, yellow sun is shining it's day's end glow into the window above my futon. I stand at the kitchen counter with my back to it, slicing an heirloom tomato that is the same color as a ruby.  The fresh, rich aroma from the juice reaches me as I take the first slice.

I lift the slice to my mouth, take a bite.  And I am instantly transported to a different time; a time when I was a boy, and I was helping my mother make dinner on a summer evening.  And then I go to another time; a summer evening when I was with Kate, and we were standing in the garden, eating tomatoes right from the vine.  Like a time machine with a broken control knob, the slice of tomato has me reeling through the decades, like a game of hopscotch.

For a moment, I am confused.  For a moment, I think this time is like those other times.  But this time, when my tomato slice time machine brings me back to it, is like no other I've ever lived in.  This moment in the summer of 2016, I am an aging man living in a studio apartment in a suburb of Eugene, Oregon.  I am a social worker, a retired rock climber, a practitioner of yoga, a student of the arts.

Deep yellow sunshine glows around me and a hummingbird flys by the window.

Every shadow, every light beam, every taste and smell in this moment is perfectly unique.