Last weekend, when my kids were playing outside and my husband was mowing the lawn, I slipped away for some alone time in my sneakers.
I turned right out of the driveway, down the long hill, cool air flowing through my hair: I always feel like I’m flying when I start. I felt my skin start to tingle with the heat that my increased blood flow produced and then the sweat came.
Tapas: the purifying heat. Coursing through my body, flushing my face and I was breathing deep and steady. My feet followed the road, rolling through my neighbourhood, past people on their Sunday afternoon strolls, past kids on bikes. I turned right again, up a hill. My legs tired, my face sweaty. I felt happiness swell within me.
In yoga we practice honouring the body. Moving into an asana for the body, not for the ego. With a regular and mindful yoga practice, we become more in-tune with ourselves, in every sense. I’ve had yoga teachers tell me to honour my edge, to back off poses with the ego in mind. And while I have definitely succumbed to the voice of my ego telling me to push my body just a little deeper into that pose (and consequently, have suffered for it), that’s not something that I practice on a regular basis.
Yoga has taught me to be gentle with myself. Yoga has helped me understand my body’s biomechanics. Yoga has helped me understand and realize and even begin to practice true acceptance of myself the way I am today.
My sluggish kapha self loooooooves lingering in restorative poses. My sluggish kapha nature would much rather check facebook with my sneakers on then hit the road for a run. So, for me, the Edge isn’t catching myself before I crank into trikonasana, the Edge is pushing myself to get that Tapas flowing.
I practice yoga because it brings me home to myself.
I run because it makes me feel alive.
So, last Sunday, as I wound my way back up the road to my house, I veered left instead of right into a wooded trail in my neighbourhood. Halfway up the steep, steep hill, I stopped, turned off my headphones and placed my palms onto a maple tree.
I felt my pulse in my fingertips. I let the music of my heartbeat lead me into connection with nature. I closed my eyes and felt the heart energy that flowed through my palms unite with the wisdom of the Great Mother. I let emotion flood over me. Waves of sadness followed by waves of compassion and love, tumbling from my heart in this sacred moment of connectivity. I stepped closer and wrapped my arms around the tree, embracing the trunk as lovingly as I would my child. And in the quiet moment on that trail, the Great Mother embraced me back. I knelt down and kneaded my hands into the soft moss that grew on the earth, envisioning my fingers growing roots deep in the soil, connecting with the energy of that tree; of nature; of the entire world.
Imagine how different our lives would be if we let ourselves slow down for long enough to connect with something outside of ourselves? We spend so much time worrying and fretting about tomorrow and yesterday, that we forget how powerful this moment can be.
Imagine how different our lives could be if we found our Edge and honoured it?
Imagine how different our lives would be if we opened our hearts and embraced a tree?