Dawn is the only hour of the day when the cicadas are quiet. It is also the hour when long, deep ujjayi-breaths slip out through the screen door of the yoga shala, mixing with wisps of incense. Inside, a room full of sweaty yogis move in meditation on the dark gray marble floor, each at his or her own pace. The air is electrified with immense concentration and infused with tranquility, a paradox that strikes me every morning as I enter the room.
Working through my poses I quietly ponder upon another paradox: there is nothing new under the sun and yet everything is always changing. Nothing is permanent and yet the patterns that form by change are always the same. We learn new things by making the same mistakes countless people have made before us. An ashtanga yoga sequence is identical from today to the next and yet it feels different every time I practice it.
Change is a sneaky little thing: we never catch it in action and only notice the effect. And so what is more valuable: development itself, or what happens to us when we become aware of how we have changed?
(Agios Pavlos, Crete, Greece; August 2014)