This week I returned from a long end of summer vacation to Sicily, which we didn’t really have time for, but did anyway. We met wonderful family members who rented a villa in Sicily overlooking Mt. Etna – one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It was an offer we couldn’t refuse.
The trip was a great cap to a great summer. Now back in Seattle it feels like fall. And so I want to reflect on how yoga has played a role in this wonderful, amazing summer.
I went to a free outdoor yoga class nearby Barefoot Yoga HQ on the summer Solstice – and after it, dedicated myself to regular yoga (6 days per week for at least a half hour). I stuck to this, with the exemption of 2 weeks I practiced 5 days, though I did uphold the hours those weeks (3 hours per week – wow – that sounds like so little when I put it this way!). And this lasted up until the 2nd day of week 9, when this long – airport, gelato, pizza, and pasta filled Sicilian odyssey began.
And so, I missed a few days in week 9, and a few more in week 10. But I will say, I did yoga half of my days there – usually for closer to 1 hour than a half, and it had a powerful influence on my experience in Sicily. It definitely helped drive me to – elation! (More on this next blog).
I’m back on track here in week 11, and yoga is definitely a regular part of my life in a way that surpasses anytime since I practiced Astanga Yoga in Mysore India under the tutelage of Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and his grandson Sharat for 2 and a half months in 1996.
I recognize that I am essentially chipping away at inflexibility that has set in over a lifetime of intense athletic endeavor – be it running marathons, bicycling (across country and around towns), skating, playing tennis, skiing, and more – with fairly minimal stretching. And I’m chipping away at mental inflexibility (and over-flexibility) that set in over all these years. I definitely feel positive results from these months of consistent yoga. But, in some ways “results” seems like a misnomer – because I clearly have such a long way to go.
I am stronger, more flexible, and slightly calmer. I have managed to stay very active, while keeping pain at bay – which is an accomplishment in itself considering the stenosis in my spine, along with some other old injuries from all those sports over the years.
At other times in my life, if I’d said – I have a long way to go – it may have felt discouraging or overwhelming. Yet now it sounds very much the opposite. In a profound way I realize my personal need for further, deeper immersion in this practice. It is vital to my aging, well-worn body. It eases the reactions from my often bombarded adult mind. This drives me to practice.
I’m grateful to all the yoga teachers I’ve had, who have helped me reach this point where yoga practice is available to me anytime and anywhere. And I look forward to getting myself back into classes, because there are amazing yoga teachers everywhere I turn in this town who will literally keep me in line. After almost 3 months of regular yoga, I feel like finally, I’m hooked – that my personal yoga practice is like a beacon that will brighten my future in ways I know now, and others that will be revealed. This light can no longer be ignored.
This post was written by David on September 9, 2015