Yoga is such a tremendous learning system. It provides an exceedingly thorough–yet surgically focused–set of tools through which to understand and explore the world.
So that we are able to navigate with skill (physically, intellectually, emotionally)–and choose the path that is meant for each of us individually.
Often, yoga teaching mimics nature. The practice asks us to turn away from the busy ever-changing outside world and the sensory delights that distract and seduce. (This is the fifth limb of yoga, called pratyahara.)
I’ve spent this week on the coast of Florida, watching the tides rise and fall. When the tide is high, the barnacles open to feed. As the tide falls, the barnacles close tightly, creating a safe, wet microcosm until the sea returns.
The lightning whelk teaches a similar lesson. When it isn’t hunting and eating clams, the whelk protects itself with a trap door made of keratin.
The barnacles and the whelk remind me to retreat, to withdraw my senses, to focus attention and effort within the confines of my mat–within the boundaries of my skin. There is clarity and safety here.
I make time and space to practice moving through the world. With awareness. Clarity. Fluidity. Good humor. Light-heartedness. Strength. And speed.
With so much contradictory and unsettling stimulation assaulting our senses each day, we need the quiet, wise guidance that nature and yoga offer. Now, more than ever.
Get outside. Get to yoga. Return to the proven systems that heal and protect us. I’ll meet you there.