The sky is glowing that particular sheen of silver just before a spring rain, and the world glimmers as though about to share a lovely little secret. There’s a freshness to the air, an earthy plumpness to this hydrated world of Spring. And I can’t help but revel in the Mahabhutas – the great elements of ether, earth, water, fire, and air – at play during this season.
Relishing my relationship to nature’s rhythms and cycles offers an abundant source of nourishment and wellbeing. After an unruly bout with some seasonal and state-of-the-world ennui this winter, I notice that my mood is lifting. There’s hope in the world again. (At least in my world. I pray you have the same.) Last year’s stunning spring in North Carolina felt like a pleasant consolation prize for lockdown. This year, I find it to be more of a pollinated promise. There’s plenty of dust and chaos – that won’t change – but blooms are coming. Peace can be found in tiny pockets of flowers and young maple leaves and reuniting with vaccinated family and friends.
As a woman, I have long learned what it means to live in rhythm and cycle. As a woman who does yoga, I have learned the power of organic, rather than linear, practice. I’m never going to be one to complete a 30-days-to-handstand-challenge or some such thing. Much as I would like to. I know myself better than that. What brings me sustenance is a practice of adaptation. Adaptation to my mood, to varying degrees of physical or spiritual energy or fatigue, and to the rhythms of 28-30 days.
One of these adaptations is incorporating yin yoga into my catalogue of practice. In yang style asana – typically where we “work hard” or flow from one pose to the next – we are stressing (in a good way) the yang tissue of the muscles, blood, and skin. In yin yoga we stress (in a good way) the more yin tissues of ligaments, bones, and joints. Yang loves to get hot – like the sun. Yin loves to get cool – like the moon. For me, this attention to the yin side of the body and spirit is deeply nourishing. Like drinking hot water early in the morning, the long holds of yin asanas settle and revive. Even more, the long holds afford an opportunity to saturate my being with a little moon glow of attention to its generally anxious state, and shift it to a deeper gratitude and serenity.
All this internal renewal keeps me thinking of the greening of Spring. I see that silver sky and think of happy ligaments. I see the blossoms and chartreuse silhouettes of new growth and think of happy marrow and bones. I feel the breeze and my joints move. And the pollen – that’s the clutter that gets integrated through the deep focus of a yin asana.
On Saturday, April 24th I’ll be leading a yin practice from 11am-12pm on Zoom. It will be recorded so if you can’t join live you can participate later on. We’ll do another long, slow, and deep practice in May – though that won’t be yin specific. More on that later. And, I’m pleased to announce that in June I’ll be leading a virtual, weekend workshop on the themes found in my book Sacred Balance in partnership with Abbey of the Arts.
I hope you will join me and one another in embracing the rhythms that bring you nourishment.