This morning, as the breath of 19 other yogis surrounded me on my mat, I felt settled; I felt grounded. I felt home.
I awoke to the wind blowing through the trees outside my window and dynamic clouds hanging in a gray sky. Excited to get going on my slow cooker meal prep, I started in on a French press, ate some figs and gathered laundry before creeping downstairs, the BikeHaus still gray and shadowy in the absence of sun. I peeled and chopped butternut squash until my hand hurt, then scurried off to the store in my housemate’s car to collect the rest of the ingredients.
These tasks—cleaning, cooking, organizing—and their rhythms are meditative. What went into the slow cooker were pieces of a greater meditative stew: the frozen corn I spent hours cleaning and blanching during last October’s great corn haul; the beans I shelled last week, sitting alone at our dining room table; even selecting four perfectly ripe avocados as I snuck around a still-sleepy Greenlife Grocery on this Sunday morning put me at ease.
Chili ingredients now in the slow cooker, I stuffed a pannier full of warm clothes for the day and took off. Yoga preceded a soak and a shower, then visiting with friends at the market, playing with my favorite niece and finally hiking in the blustery afternoon on Stringer’s Ridge. The skies stayed gray all day, but didn’t deter me from hunkering down in the saddle and slowly cranking away on my bike, often into some gross winds.
I smiled at the rhythm of my breath, my heart beating, my chest moving up and down when I came to a stoplight on Broad Street. I cast a sideways glance at the drivers next to me as we both started off again. I would stop at more lights and again feel the same breath and lifeforce within me.
When you practice fully tuning in to that lifeforce, the breath, the pranyama, I find it slowly becomes easier to come back to it in times of stress, strain or duress. Under peaceful circumstances, it becomes easier to thrive, to let each moment, task or practice turn into a meditation. From the pace of my pedaling to the easy rhythm of banter with a friend while hiking to the way I turn a spoon making my favorite cornbread, I’m beginning to see and feel these experiences in a different light.
My morning of preparation culminated this evening around the table with my housemate and friends. I was glad to have created and been able to share a meal that was not only physically nourishing for all us but that was spiritually nourishing for me to prepare. It warms me from within to feel that sense of grounding, especially after the turbulence I bounced through in the past few weeks.
After dinner as I emptied the compost containers, the tug of the overflowing moon pulled me in. We stopped washing dishes and walked out on the porch as we quipped about the name of the glowing ring around the moon. Clouds soared by, and wind reminiscent of the breath of 20 yogis again filled my ears. My heart calm and steady, I was surrounded by my support network, my friends.
Yesterday morning, in class, the same feeling of being surrounded by a loving, supportive and healthy network crept up my spine: It wasn’t until midway through class that I spied one of my best yogi friends directly behind me. I smiled. I felt home. I AM home, and I couldn’t have made it without realizing, accepting and allowing myself to be receptive and open to the rhythms, the support, the network, and most importantly, the love.