I have lived in New England for 46 years, and on this day in August 2014, I dove into a lake for the first time.
Chilly? Of course.
Dark? Yup. Daylight Saving Time in New England is just about over.
However, it was warm inside the studio where my high school students and I have been practicing yoga together for the past 3 weeks. That was a good part. The space glowed with candlelight as we focused on finding stillness and balance and breath moving through the postures. We learned and we laughed, but that’s not the best part.
The best part for me came after we turned the lights on. We were practicing headstands. Music, laughter, and a few happy shrieks filled the air. The best part came when through the noise, I clearly heard one student’s voice. It was the voice of a 17 year old girl I have been practicing with since before I was a teacher myself. The walls were lined with kids finding the crowns of their heads and their cores, and I was busy turning someone upside down. I heard her as she too was teaching. She was confidently instructing her friend on how to get into the headstand.
It’s hard to explain the feeling I had. It was pride and happiness and excitement and accomplishment all bottled into one. I thought…this is what it’s all about. Teaching these young people, so that they will learn and want to teach each other.
That was the best part.
Take this example, and know that this is why I love yoga. When there is darkness and uncertainty in this life, we practice finding stillness, balance, and focus to guide us. We do this so that when the light does shine, as it always will, we are able to help others as they too journey along life’s path. We help each other out. We practice kindness. We know what to do. We know how, because we have been there.
Oh yeah, you bet I let her know how great she is- that 17 year old young woman. Of course it was through text, because that’s how kids communicate today. The next time I see her, she will hear it from my lips- accompanied by a hug of course, because that is also what it’s all about. She does not just need to read it. She needs to hear it, and she really needs to feel it.
After that, she may just believe it is true.
For 18 years, 11 months, 24 days, 13 hours, and 51 minutes I have known that he would be home soon. Maybe in a day or so; maybe a week. Whatever it was he would be here soon enough. Well, something just changed, and it’s good change, and I welcome change. Today, however, in seat 5B flying over Cheyenne, CO en route home from Los Angeles to Boston, I thought to myself: “Wow. They were right. That was fast.”
College. He is not coming home for a long time.
Why Tree pose then?
Your foot stays rooted in the ground, and you find your balance as your breathe and reach your arms to the sky in growth. Sure, your body may sway a bit like the branches do in the wind. As you keep smooth and steady breath, you allow for those movements through the spaces you have created around you.
On top of the bluff, I see the expanse of Los Angeles in front of me. I am confident that this young man who came into this world through me is ready to journey on; to fulfill the dreams he has created for himself.
And so then, to my son…
May you at first be still and root yourself into the new ground that you walk upon. May every inhale bring you peace, and every exhale send your kindness and compassion out into the world. May you find balance in your new life as you grow your own branches with a quiet, confident, open mind. May your branches sway when winds of change arrive, and when you lose your balance, may you get back up and stand strong once again. May you realize the power of standing tall and proud, and may you’re heart always be open and shining toward whatever lies ahead.