She realized she was lucky –
because she could actually see it –
how the trees got more beautiful
each year…how they danced
with such great pride,
surviving each season’s change…
and she knew their beauty
lied not in the perfection,
but the growth…
and she could see it –
in the trees,
the people around her,
and some days –
even in herself…
and so she would dance.
Through a whirlwind of conference paper outlines, summer plans, housing lottery numbers, and Black Squirrel milkshakes, it is easy to forget the importance of connecting to our bodies, both physically and mindfully, and acknowledging the humble breath that sustains all. In the coming weeks, as deadlines pass unawares to the joy of Easter egg hunts, and Passover charm, try to, even if only once a day, give yourself a moment to feel your breath and to listen to your body. This could be in the form of closing your eyes for a minute before a stressful class and allowing yourself to envision complete stillness, dancing with yourself before you go to sleep, or whatever else feels right for you.
The pose I have chosen for this week, Lord of the Dance or “Natarajasana,” is one I hope you will find useful in times of both stress and calm. Not only does it force us to take our minds off sources of anxiety, but is also an instrument through which to fine-tune our centers of focus and balance, as well as an ideal vehicle for shoulder, chest, thigh, leg and ankle stretching and strengthening.
With breath in mind, begin by standing in Mountain Pose or “Tadasana,” both feet planted firmly on the ground, about hip distance apart, arms stretched down along your sides, energy reaching through your toes and fingertips, eyes gazing into the space before you. Once you feel steady and balanced, slowly lift your right knee up to about hip height, reaching down to grasp the ankle (outer or inner, whichever feels most natural) with your right hand. Trusting in your drishti (focal point), lift your left arm upward, parallel with your ear, and begin to reach your right hand and ankle back through the space behind you, leaning your torso forward and lengthening your thigh, to a point at which both arms are entirely outstretched in opposite directions.
Once you have found the full pose (or your own modification of it), take in and let out five deep breaths, envisioning their power to nourish each and every fiber of your being. Gently come out of the pose by bringing your torso back to an upright position, allowing your left arm to come back down and relax against your thigh, and slowly releasing the right side of your body. Standing firmly in Tadasana, give yourself a moment to reconnect with the present, embodying the patience and stamina to continue on through your day. Blessings and good health.
Featured Image: Google Images
Jana in yoga pose: Katherine Harrison