This blue marble

– and yet it spins

The yoga of living – or staying alive

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shala-3

I am unable to describe (in words or pictures) the rain on the leaves, the rooster caws, the incense smoke from the morning offering, and the silence in the soundscape. There is no distraction and nothing else to do except for a sun salutation. And another. And then a padangusthasana, a padahastasana, a trikonasana, and onward, and inward. Stiff shoulders and tired thighs are to be acknowledged, nothing more or less. Yoga is not about stretching to reach the next pose, but about the process that happens in any pose. It is not about just striking a pose that looks kind of right, but making sure that it is grounded, and centered around breath and gravity.

shala-1Yoga is also about accepting that a knee injury requiring surgery means going back to the basics and then rebooting the system of practice. And it is understanding that not many people master to truly live while surviving intact throughout life. In the last 4 years I have not only crashed and burned, but also experienced my first emergency surgery, my first stitched wound, my first broken bones, and my first sports injury. The 31 years before kept me unscathed.

As I sipped my daily post-practice coconut water, I could not help but wonder whether yoga means living in it all, or living despite of it all?

shala-2(Ashtanga Yoga Bali Research Center; Ubud, Bali, Indonesia; August 2015)

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