Calm in Following the Line
While I now find myself living happily in the country, once upon a time it would have been the furthest destination from my mind - a future in a small country town.
I grew up on the coast where I was always in and around the water. My dad used to take us to swimming training each morning at our local pool, we spent a lot of time water skiing, at the beach, or just breathing the salty air.
You see, I’m a Piscean – and that means I’m a February baby. I’ve never studied star signs in any particular detail but I have discovered over the years that I am quite aligned to mine. Maybe it’s why I find such peace around the water, in the water, just looking at the water, even in the shower and perhaps why I'm drawn to colours that are soft blues and greens.
So over the summer months the black line at the bottom of the pool becomes one of my regular companions. As I swim up and down the length of that beautiful blue expanse it seems to calm me and let me become one with the space. It becomes a moving meditation for me once I’m beyond those first few laps when my breath is settling into the new demands being made upon my body. I can block out distractions and the white noise of life as I let myself sink into the water, I can focus on the sound of my own breath, I am in touch with my body as it moves through the water - it feels smooth and strong. I feel that, just like the beginnings of a yoga class, those initial laps help to remove the niggles, the tight muscles, they help me reconnect with how my body is feeling at that point in time. And then like magic, my body seems to relax into the water, to glide for moments when my breath is in rhythm with the movement of my body.
I"m very aware that not everyone finds solace in the water. For some it can be a place of fear and anxiety, perhaps due to a past experience or just an innate discomfort without any particular explanation. Like everyone I’ve had my moments of fear in the water, of being caught in a rip at the beach or dumped ferociously onto the sand at the base of an enormous wave wondering if I have enough breath to make it to the surface. I’ve fought against that power only to finally let myself be lifted to the surface when the wave lets me go. These events remind me each time just how powerful and unforgiving mother nature can be. It just picks up everything in its path and lands it unceremoniously wherever it may land.
So it's so nice to find your "thing" that you connect to. For you it maybe that you love to lose yourself to playing or listening to music, immerse yourself in an amazing book, walk in nature, or lay under the stars. It doesn't matter what it is, but it's our mindful intention behind it that makes it so special and has the power to relax our minds and ease our hearts, stealing us away from the white noise so prevalent in our day to day lives.
So I return to the line at the bottom of the pool. As I follow it up and down sometimes I’m thinking, sometimes I'm counting laps as I would my breath in a meditation, occasionally I’m planning, perhaps listening intently to the sound of my own breath, but mostly I’m just letting my body breathe and experience this moving meditation. Grateful that I have a body that can move in this way and a breath that I can facilitate it.
Just like my love of the swimming experience, our yoga practice can be a moving meditation. There is time required to let ourselves settle into our class, to step away from the activities of our day. There is time to reconnect with our body and mind and how it feels to be “me” in that moment. There is energy required to move our body and create shapes, and there is a slow subtle energy that is required to allow us to stay and sit with the power of that asana. Sometimes we even face discomfort in finding the shape that works best for us – we wriggle and jiggle a little to find the point of ease. Here we find the time of release, of letting our breath work it’s magic through energy in our body. Finally there is the magical hum or vibration that we can feel when we complete our practice, when we allow prana to flow through our bodies. We find ourselves in savasana.
It’s a similar feeling I get when I leave the pool and allow myself some time to just lay on my towel and feel the power and energy moving and then settling in my body. I can feel my connection to mother earth – I feel stable, settled and at ease, and stronger for the experience. I hope that you can find your "thing" - the experience that allows you to feel comfortable, to feel completely and utterly enough, just as you are, right now, in this moment.
May blessings flow through you, from you and to you.
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti