After a 5-day stay in the amazing Sequoia’s I had a chance to rediscover, on another level, the essence of Yoga practice. Yoga means Harmony, union, and balance. Doing Yoga in the vast expansion of Nature is the expression of absolute Union with a powerful force active in Life itself.
We can do yoga to keep the body looking strong and flexible, but what about yoga to rediscover the natural balance of life within our own body. How about remembering our relationship to nature and finding that natural potential movement and freedom we have within ourselves.
As I sat, watched and listened to the roaring creek by my campsite, I began to do yoga. I began breathing in a rhythm that is so easy to forget. Inhaling, exhaling. Inhale up the back and exhale down the front. This is our natural rhythm. Everything in nature moves in a rhythm of harmony. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. The North Star stays in the northern sky.
We have our own rhythm of breathing, walking, sleeping, waking, and when the movement of breath is stuck, we shift from harmony to disharmony (disease).
Yoga brings us to harmony. Doing yoga out in nature connects us to the environment surrounding us. Doing the Tree pose in the midst of Giant Sequoias with their big feet reaching out and down into more earth-space, I remember to balance with my feet acutely alert to the earth below and body above. My arms reaching as high as the tallest branch and my breath inspiring the intelligence that is guiding me to more and more awaking movement and stillness.
I move to the large flat stones perfect for watching, listening and feeling the force that runs through me as it runs through the creek water. Twisting in the wind, untwisting the accumulation from stress of worry, concern, and just life when my breath becomes shallow and lost. The Twist opens my chest, lungs, heart and my breath can spiral up my spine. The potential to relive and release the burdens resting on my shoulders is as present as my breath is complete.
I choose a rock to lean back over to do backbends, feeling the buildup of tension in my shoulders. Realizing my shoulders were carrying the unnecessary load that backbends freed me from. My hands are rooting into the rock and my breath guiding me to open my chest and heart. The roots of my feet reaching deeper into the ground, so my upper spine and chest can open and expand, recovering more and more freedom.
So many of my students come into the yoga room and find the same spot where they feel they can do yoga. I like to shake it up and have them to move to a different spot. How can you feel free to practice anywhere if you consider one spot to be your one and only yoga space? Be free! Find anywhere to do yoga so that you will be able to feel free to find that true harmony with your surroundings anywhere. Yoga is part of Nature’s rhythm. The Yoking together of our self to a higher self, manifested majestically within Nature.