First, let me say that for the past three weeks I’ve been stuck on trying to write blog posts that seem only to beget further blog posts in a long story about the past 4 months that I’m afraid, dear reader, will never get told chronologically. But it’s OK because time isn’t really chronological either. But wait, I digress. So today I decided the only way to tell you about my path is to write about the yogini’s practice day by day. So on to today…
Urban Eco Yoga
OK, OK, I know the title
so hard to be hip,
I realize I must apologize,
but I just couldn’t help myself.
It’s not a brand, I swear, it’s just what I did today.
I’m apologizing because
~~~ y o g a ~~~
has got to be marketed
as a cool, sexy,
athletic, hot, sweaty,
six pack, spiritual,
erotic & exotic,
core strength enlightened,
everlasting fountain of youth
and above all eco friendly way to
~~~ be ~~~
in harmony with yourself
and the world while
c h i l l
o u t
r e l a x x x
and get mellow while tending to
and detoxifying your
precious temple of a body,
or maybe just keep it moving one more day
so you can keep sucking up this precious breath called life
and breathing back joy to the world!
But wait, there’s more…
You can purify your mind
of all that shit inside you
that gets in your way
when you try to
naturally resting in your own true nature.
And you really really can.
It’s right here.
Because today I really did
I invited the snow to love my body
and the earth to soak up the pain
and the sun to radiate my mind
as the planes left disappearing trails
in the perfect blue sky
while solo seagulls mysteriously soared high above
heading north following the storm
while I moved my body with my breath
and came into wholeness in prasarita padasana
while my neighbors car came on automatically
to warm up, no more than 15 feet from where I am
breathing, moving, receiving and loving the earth.
And I thought to myself how the central Americans don’t understand that the car will be OK when its 29 degrees out. You don’t need to warm it up for 20 minutes. You are the one who is understandably cold having come from a place where there is no snow, but your car is not really that cold. I once lived in northern New Hampshire, and most cars don’t really have that much trouble until it hits about 20 below zero and then you’d better have a engine block heater, or half an hour to warm up your car (if you can get it started) just to make it so the transmission fluid thaws enough to allow the gears to move, and the oil can actually circulate to keep all the parts moving.
And then realizing that I was thinking…
about my neighbor so uncharitably because I was uncomfortable with the possibility that he had been watching me do yoga in the snow, and I wouldn’t really blame anyone who didn’t know me and saw me doing that thinking I was really crazy, loco, or whatever you call it in your lingo when you see a nearly 60 year old woman with a big belly and breasts rolling around in the snow in her back yard smiling ecstatically.
And then realizing that thinking had gotten me out of the flow.
This mind is like that.
It gets poked by the world and tries to push it away with anger.
And then when the yogini sees the anger story and drops it the mind comes back to the underlying fear story.
It hears a car turn on and immediately jumps to feeling labeled as crazy, and then invents a story to defend against the more painful story of having had that really said about me to me publicly, before a listening crowd of 100+ people, in an AA meeting, in New Hampshire when I was living in the place where I learned about what real cold can do to cars and when I was barely hanging on to not committing suicide because the ptsd had gotten so bad that I hadn’t slept in 3 months because nightmares would wake me up screaming and consequently all my mental defenses broke down and I fell into a pit of remembering and re-seeing and re-hearing horrors and terrors of childhood. In that state I was told “You don’t belong here.” by a man who stood up to say it. After attending thousands of AA meetings, 7 years of abiding with everyone’s story because that’s how that program works. After the meeting there were 99 people who had nothing to say to me. It was life threatening. I almost died.
The mind is like that.
It picks up the thread again and again even after the yogini dropped it in her practice again and again and is now simply writing about having a story intrude on today’s practice.
After the yogini drops the fear story, it goes on to an annihilation story.
So now you know the practice can become noticing thoughts and stories and ways of reacting to the world as if stories about the world were true. And seeing that they are all just thoughts. I see myself letting that old shit get in the way of now and so I turn back, away from these thoughts to…
my practice of simply
~~ being ~~
~~ breathing ~~
~~ moving ~~
~~ seeing ~~
~~ sensing ~~
~~ feeling ~~
~~ breathing ~~
~~ being ~~
in the web of life
in my urban home
and radiating gratitude back
to the snow and the earth and the sun and the sky and the airplane trail and the mysterious seagulls and the air and the trees and the dog who is barking two backyards over and even my neighbor who didn’t say a word when he finally saw me, though he had to try hard not to stare.
So when the asana practice comes to an end
and the interrupting thoughts come to an end,
I decide to build a wall.
Yes, a wall between me and my Latino neighbor.
No, I am not.
Not supporting Donald Trump.
I’m just trying to get some privacy for my urban eco yoga
so as to not let being self-conscious
get my mind off on a trip again of stories that
have no useful meaning to me or my neighbor now.
Thoughts that I do not want to belong to.
Gotta take it in stages, you know, letting go of those stories.
And then again, how long has it been since I built a snow wall to hide behind?
At least 15 years.
What better way to continue todays urban eco yoga practice than to
crawl around on all fours
in the snow
in my back yard
under my dormant wild plum trees that have terrible thorns but make really fantastic plum conserve, so I decided to call them my nemesis trees that I can’t get rid of but can’t stop loving anyway despite it’s thorns even as I dodge them while rolling up my snow boulders hoping I won’t get pricked in the head.
Rolling balls of snow up and packing them together
to made a modestly sized privacy screen
and not doing the ghetto thing
you know, hanging up some wires to some poles
and hanging an old bed sheet.
in the city
in the snow
to the earth
the sun bathes us
I’m taking my yoga back yoga to the yoga
of the cave yogis in Himalayas walking naked clothed in charnel ground ashes and bathing in the ice cold Ganges as she flows forth from the womb of the mountains to purify the sins the yogis have taken on for others as an act of devotion — taking on another’s karma and living a life that burns karma up in the heat of practice and turns it into bliss and then even the bliss is purified and there is emptiness in the blueness we call sky. Or maybe they are just bums begging for alms and the ashes, dreadlocks and holding your arm up in the air pointing towards God and never putting it down, never. It just atrophies there after a few years while the uncut fingernails curl inward toward the withered hand. All that is just their act. Or not. And they really are burning up karmic baggage to free people from the wheel of living life after life trying to learn how to be free.
I know that a Providence back yard snow practice can’t compare
to how high you get in the thin mountain air of Mount Kailash
with nothing but azure blue sky above you and Lake Mansarovar reflecting the cloudless clear eye of limitless space. But I live here, in Providence. And limitless space is here too.
And my devotion is not to the god above but to the earth below around above and within me. Earth, this loving organism I happen to exist within at the beginning of the 21st century. I am consciously loving it back because the earth web of life is rippling and ripping apart in crisis that I cannot stop. And yet I must do something. I can love, I can listen, see, feel, breathe unfettering my mind, throwing away my framework and just experience the web and the ecstatic beauty of it all, even the people on the bus who smell so bad you can’t get within 3 yards of them without gagging. Especially then I’m taking in the karma of isolation and powerlessness and othering and especially the crazy collective dream that destroys our home, the earth. I’m breathing it in when I can and breathing out love which is the only antidote I have to this particular karmic time bomb I call earth crisis.
And I am a woman. Yogini are as common as pennies these days, but in the arc of time and the history of yoga I am rare because I am not a man.
Because I am a woman and I am not reaching heavenward, but earthward, I can sit upon a pile of snow and feel the snow compact and conform to the contours of my vulva, welcoming the snow and the earth into me
as my sacred divine sexual pure love nature inhabits me during this sacred act of connection and devotion that joins my axis with the spiraling mirrored trees of life that are churning the divine ocean of existence into being at this very moment.
Providence founded upon the principle of freedom in religious conscious, so certainly Providence can have a snow yogini.
And who the hell cares if an old hippie
has to do her practice with her body
touching the ground?
And then I went inside and got my phone and snapped some pictures for you so you could see today’s practice in case you didn’t feel like reading all that much.