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A Sun Salutation for the Mind and Spirit

Hello! I'm just coming down from a very high weekend of teaching the chakras to the teacher trainees and yoga therapists-in-training at My Vinyasa Practice. They were a bright and engaging group, and I believe we all came away with a new understanding of ourselves in relation to our energy, life story, inhibitions, and gifts.  But since I had never taught for 10 hours over a weekend before, I had to think a lot about preparing myself and conserving my energy for the long haul.  My personal routine was paramount to my preparation. That routine starts first thing in the morning. 


I believe that how we enter the day can set the tone for how the rest of the day will flow. So we best be mindful about it!


I was recently looking through some poetry in my personal library and came across a Mary Oliver poem that I think inspires a beautiful start to the day.  We often practice Sun Salutations in yoga class, so a salute to the sun is a long standing practice for many of us.  It gets our blood pumping and lungs expanding. See if this poem does the same for your mind and spirit:

Why I Wake Early


Hello, sun in my face.

Hello, you who make the morning

and spread it over the fields

and into the faces of the tulips

and the nodding morning glories,

and into the windows of, even, the miserable and the crotchety--


best preacher that ever was,

dear star, that just happens

to be where you are in the universe

to keep us from ever-darkness,

to ease us with warm touching,

to hold us in the great hands of light--

good morning, good morning, good morning.


Watch, now, how I start the day

in happiness, in kindness.


                  --Why I Wake Early: New Poems by Mary Oliver

Now I ask you this: how quickly did you read it? If you're like me, you read it through at typical speed and thought, "Well, that's lovely! I DO like this poem. I shall start my day in happiness and kindness!"  You might even agree it's a great Sun Salutation for your mind and spirit. 


There is nothing wrong with this of course, because if more of us enter the day with happiness and kindness, the world will be a better place!  I have a feeling, though, that if we engage with this poem with more of our whole self, it can be a truly beautiful and meaningful tool for entering the day more slowly and intentionally.


Try this: Go back and read each line with your breath.  Inhale one line, exhale the next, and so on.  I'll wait... 


How do you feel?  How did that change the way you engaged with the poem?  What images came to mind? How did they make you feel? I'm betting if we make a practice of this it will have new meaning each day.  


When else might we slow down our breath, and in doing so greet the activity with happiness and kindness? 



Much love,


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