Tonight I wished for a pedometer on the white rocker in Linnea’s room. I wondered to myself, her body heavy in my arms, just how many times I had sat in that same position. Forward and back. Forward and back. In silence and in darkness. I think I have put so many miles in that chair because it has become meditative for me. My daughter snuggled closely and my body free from outside distraction…
I enrolled in a writer’s workshop at Lighthouse in Denver earlier this month. The workshop, “Writing Class Asana” was led by Wendy Wunder, a Young Adult (YA) author. And. I. Loved. Her. I still feel so new at making a routine out of writing that when meeting a published author, I feel like a middle schooler at a One Direction concert in their presence. Meeting approachable writers like Wendy make a writing practice goal seem less lofty. (Case in point: She wrote while teaching yoga and raising a daughter, and now hopes to become a high school English teacher. Writing, to her, doesn’t seem extravagant, it just seems essential.)
The workshop was divided into two parts: Wendy first led us through an Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice and then into an hour of free writing and sharing. She quoted Natalie Goldberg on numerous occasions (another reason I was sold since I reference her in my own classes) with my favorite quote being the reason we did yoga in the first place. She shared its purpose is “to get you down to a body level and out of your monkey mind”. This same sentiment was connected to the end of our yoga practice: Shavasana.
Shavasana means “corpse pose” where one lies flat on their back with hands and legs extended, and it is the end to a yoga routine. In few words, Wendy explained that the whole purpose of yoga is to get to shavasana, the point where relaxation, and thus true meditation, can take place. And through the writing portion of the class, I could not take my focus away from this concept. In my head, I kept thinking about how The purpose of yoga AND life is to get to a place of shavasana…
My writing notebook was messy, but filled with the word, shavasana. (Well, to be honest, it was filled with the word, “Chivasana” since I had only heard it spoken.) I wondered how it was possible to live in a constant state of shavasana. How does one live in a way that the mind can be free of distraction? And I realized that I have some fabulous role models in my life for how one can achieve this. The secret is that we all have our own yoga practice, the activity or passion that engulfs our whole being and allows us to live in the present moment. When we take part in such activities, we can live a more authentic life because we are not worrying about the past or the future, but just enjoying what is in front of us:
I thought of my husband, Ben when he watches and analyzes a World Cup match or a Husker game; I thought of my neighbor and friend, Becky (“BB”, as Linnea lovingly refers to her), who can carefully tend to her garden for hours on end; I thought of my other neighbor and friend, Amy, who is so thoughtful with her crafty creations that she can turn a few pieces of material into a practical and beautiful item; I thought of my mom who gets lost in the caring for and tending to of family members; I thought of my stepdad, Dennis who sees a vision and takes no time at all in building it with his own hands; I thought of my dad, Mark, who volunteers whenever someone needs help with their car because he loves tinkering around in the garage; I thought of my brother-in-law who loves to fly an airplane more than anything else; I thought of my brother, Andy, who has a brain for technology and can get lost on a computer project for days; I thought of my sister who loves to paint and scrapbook, and does both in such creative ways; I thought of my dearest friend, Alli, who loves to read, garden, bake and create extraordinary items; I thought of my Grandpa John who tends to the most beautiful roses and potted plants I have ever seen; I thought of my Grandma Lorrie who creates magnificent quilts and extensive scrapbooks; I thought of my almost 90-year-old Grandpa Pete who feels like a kid when he windsurfs; I thought of my Grandma Ginny who rocks and knits and finds such peace in both; And I thought of my friend, Mary, who loves yoga so much, she is spending her valuable summer vacation to be trained to be a certified instructor, and….
I thought of my daughter who lives more in the moment than anyone I have ever known. Everything seems to be shavasana for her.
Which brings me to my own example: Rocking her. Rocking Linnea like I have done, every night for the last, roughly 970 days. I love many things, but I feel utterly relaxed and at peace when I am rocking her at night, in the darkness and in the silence. Listening only to the rhythm of the chair going forward and back. Forward and back.
P.S. Nothing disrupts a yoga class more than having a photographer in the room. To see a picture of me in action at the workshop (in the background, thank goodness) or to read more about the workshop itself, check it out here.