The days are getting shorter and cooler now, as we descend into fall. The rain came this week too, making our skies gray and misty; making me close windows, and wonder if our indian summer had finally come to an end. In true Bay Area October form, however, we were treated to a sunny encore this weekend.
And we saluted it in abundance.
In the now-familiar sanctuary of Yoga Tree Berkeley’s Peacock studio, we boldly fumbled our way through coaching and assisting our fellow trainees in the Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutation) series. As it turns out, this is harder than it looks; This series of simple asanas, which I have practiced innumerable times, is filled with hidden intricacies just waiting to boggle the mind of an unsuspecting trainee.
Pete gave us permission to make mistakes. We happily complied.
After all, yoga is not about practicing the “perfect” Surya Namaskara… right?
Sunday evening, after I had rolled up my mat and bid farewell to my fellow trainees, I worked to overcome my mounting exhaustion so that I could complete the necessary household tasks that get pushed to the margins of my training weekends. Somewhere in between laundry and vacuuming, I happened to glance outside my window and notice the sky;
It was as if the universe was sending me a strong message to stop and pull my head out of my… asana.
And I listened. I poured myself a glass of sparkling water in my favorite pint glass, honoring Pete’s request to abstain from alcohol during training weekends, while acknowledging my strong desire to watch the sunset with a beer in hand. I stood outside on my patio, watching the sun’s descent over the bay. I stayed until the sun’s radiant beams retreated, pulling the colors of my surroundings into a muted dusk.
I thought, “what a perfect moment,” and congratulated myself for taking the time to appreciate it. Then I headed back inside to pick up the yoke of my tasks once more.
Oh how quickly we forget.
Once again, I happened to glance out the window mid-task. This time the universe was shouting.
From it’s final resting place behind the hills of the city, the sun was projecting a brilliant technicolor show into the heavens, illuminating the clouds in electric pink and orange against a cool blue sky. Neither beer nor sparkling water even crossed my mind as I flew outside to witness this spectacular “beauty moment.”
The practice of yoga offers us the opportunity to cultivate unity with the divine in each moment of our lives, whether on or off the mat. Standing there, not thinking, not doing, but simply being fully present for the sun’s final salute to the day, I let go of myself for a moment, and connected to something greater.
It was my best Sun Salutation yet.
- Mara Saunders