For three whole days, as I mentioned yesterday, I was in a fabulous bubble. One filled with amazing food, great experiences, nurturing classes, lots of fresh air and sunshine and…silence. You never really appreciate silence until you remove yourself from the buzzzzzz of the everyday. Or until you have kids, whichever comes first.
Two experiences that I found to be rather surprising and prof0undly interesting were both times in which I totally submerged myself in, well, myself.
The first was the initial yoga class that I took upon arriving at Kripalu. In any given class, I tend to do a fair amount of my yoga positions with my eyes closed…somehow that helps me to really delve into the “being” aspect of yoga and not just the physical positions. Before I knew it, I had done virtually the entire hour-long class with my eyes closed. I hadn’t even realized that I had done it that way, until at the very end when we were heading into our savasana (final relaxing pose), I was almost startled by the mere act of looking around the room. It was truly bizarre. I felt as if I had been in a different room for almost an hour, if that is one way to explain it.
The other moment like this happened when I went out kayaking on my last morning. It was a perfect, and I mean perfect, weather day. Low-70s, glorious bright sunshine and a slightly cool breeze. Spring Perfection. A group of us tromped through the wooded paths to the nearby lake. Time to get a kayaking 101 course and hop in! I’ve been in a kayak before but always just flew by the seat of my pants. I’m sure that all those times I had been holding the paddle upside down, for I now know that the scoop faces you and the long side of the flipper-thing is on top. Go figure. Probably makes paddling a heck of a lot easier.
Into my life vest I went (we all had to wear them, lest Kripalu be hit with a non-yoga-esque lawsuit), buckled up and feeling like an adolescent camper, as my vest sat a bit too high and my chin was virtually resting on it when I plopped myself in the kayak. For all intents and purposes, I could have been a kid at Camp GitcheeGoomie instead of an adult off on a yoga weekend.
Paddle, paddle. Twist from the core, don’t just use the shoulders and arms (if you do, you’ll tire easily and never make it to your destination and back. Good to know). Twissssst, paddle! Press those feet against the braces in the kayak. Press and twissst. Hey, this is awesome, now that I know what I’m doing. All 18 of us looked like a fleet of campers in wee banana boats, floating across the surface of this magnificent lake in our red, orange and yellow kayaks.
We followed the edge of the lake, curled around a bit and then came to the middle of the lake. I thought we’d just be heading back, but nope…this was Kripalu. Time for a mid-lake floating meditation. So cool. I love this place.
All of us little kayakers stopped paddling, placed our paddles gingerly across the top of our boats, pulled our feet out from below and gently rested them on top. Lean back. Feel the sun on your face, let the breeze push you where it wants. Ok…HEAVEN.
I closed my eyes and turned inward. Floating, bobbing, sun-warming. Life is good.
The leader walked us through a bit of a meditation, the breeze carrying her voice to each of us, and then we all just did our thing, letting our mind go where it wanted. When I opened my eyes after what seemed like a long time (which was probably just about 10 minutes), I was startled once again. My feet were up on a kayak and I was bobbing in the middle of a lake. I had totally tuned out. I didn’t even go to my usual Friday the 13th scenario when I am on a lake with some zombie-creature-thing overturning my canoe, kayak or floatie. It was also, quite frankly, pretty amazing that no one’s paddle slipped into the drink, as I think we all tuned out.
Again, I was greeted with the profound sensation of re-entry. I had turned inward so much (and without falling asleep-guess that’s what the life vests were for) that I had let go of where I was physically.
I may be getting the hang of this meditation thing, all the while proving the point that you don’t have to be seated on a pillow to do it. Would you could you in a kayak? Would you could you in downward dog or Warrior 1?