Sunday, June 21, 2009

Today is a writing and editing day (after teaching morning Intention Yoga at lululemon) for me. Which means that part of the day involves work avoidance (my favorite pumpkin cookies at the Sojourner, turning down a movie but wandering into the Apple store and Borders with Shelia), and part of the day involves daydreaming and staring into space and part of the day involves searching for things on the internet like stainless steel rice cookers and vegetable steamers (since I’ve reconnected with my love of steamed rice but realized with dismay that my rice cooker is aluminum!). And, some of my day actually involves writing fueled by hot water and lemon accompanied by chocolate.

But chocolate and hot water are not enough to feed the muse and keep the fingers going on the keyboard. Searching for steamers became a perusal of recommendations on websites, the news of the day, changing the twitter background to green to support Iran and then the nodding of the eyelids. Writing, after all, is not really a mental gymnastic exercise. Like anything that we do, writing takes place in the body (even if we think otherwise). I began to get more done when I flung open the window, wider, to taste the breeze on my check. I walked out onto the balcony and shook the residual ash off of my Manduka mat to stretch out into a downward facing dog. I don’t write with my thoughts or even my fingers, I realized. I write with the extension of my left pinky toe.

When yoga teachers go of on what seem like tangential excursions into the placement of the right ring fingernail or the left tip of the shoulderblade or the protuberance of the right hip, it’s not because those obscure body parts have meaning, but because we need to do the pose with our whole body. Each piece is emblematic, symbolic and representative of the whole. And if we can bring our attention into what may seem like the dark cobwebbed corners of our body, then we are really doing yoga.

And when I am really doing yoga, I am writing. I’m in computer asana. But at the same time, I have a cup of steaming hot water sitting next to me, the fragrance of lemon peel stimulating my senses. I’ve oiled my feet and left them sans socks, wrapped in a cotton flannel sheet to feel both the grounded energy of the Earth element (kapha in Sanskrit Ayurvedic terminology). When I can become embodied then the words are there, existing in the alchemical play of the elemental forces I drink in through the open window.

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