Friday, 1:15 pm.
It’s windy, and dark gray clouds race past as a storm off the east coast brings wind and clouds but no rain yet.
The air is warm, but the breeze makes it feel cooler.
I’m sitting on my mat, cross-legged, listening to the wind rush through the trees. Everything is in motion–every tree and blade of grass–moving as if the energy of the wind has charged every living branch and leaf.
On my mat I listen to the wind, awed by how much it sounds like my breath, how the movement of air comes in gusts and then settles into a gentle breeze and then gusts again, almost as if the universe is exhaling and inhaling, a song of the breath.
My legs are crossed with care so that I don’t rub any part of my leg against the ant bites that I got yesterday while mowing the lawn and trimming the bushes. Painful bites, just above my ankle, and just below my knee. Overnight they turned into itchy blisters.
I can view the bites and bemoan my fate, lamenting the discomfort, making myself miserable, or I can think how lucky I am not to have gotten more bites.
I can express gratitude for my body’s response to the poisons, can be thankful that the itchiness and stinging sensations aren’t worse.
I have a choice: to accept what is rather than to complain about what is not.
My yoga practice helps me make these choices. In a challenging pose like Warrior I, for instance, I can make myself miserable by focusing on what I can’t do, on aching quads and tight lower back, or I can focus on some positive aspect of the pose, such as how my legs support me even if they ache and wobble a bit.
Yes, the ant bites still itch as I begin my practice today. They are still painful.
But the bites don’t have the power to block my ability to see the thick gray clouds rushing past overhead or to hear the gusts of wind echoing the sound of my breath.
The ant bites are just a tiny part of a larger world, and my practice reminds me that just as storm clouds pass out of sight, so too will irritation and discomfort, whether in the form of ant bites or a difficult pose.
Practice Journal: How does yoga help you deal with irritation and discomfort in your life, whether an ant bite, an annoying friend, relative, or business associate, or an uncomfortable position on your mat? Can you view discomfort as a passing cloud? Can you accept irritation as a temporary stage, as fleeting as the wind? Write: 10 minutes.
Thanks to all:
This is the last posting for 2012, and I’d like to offer thanks to all of you who have stopped by this site to read these postings. You inspire me to keep practicing and musing about yoga in my journals. A special thanks to my teachers, family, and friends who inspired my efforts over the past year. See you on the mat (with journal and pen) in 2013!