Yoga on a Boat

Posted by on 06.12.09 | 1 Comment
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“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

This quote from Henry David Thoreau has been on my mind lately. Recently, my life has had a lot of change: changes in career, relationship, health – all the big things. And as I step back and try to assess and make sense of all the change, and figure out what to do with it, the word deliberate keeps coming to mind.

I’ve been thinking about living deliberately. I want to live deliberately. This time of change is a gift and I don’t want to squander it; I want to make strong deliberate choices about where I’d like my life to go. And I like the woods. I do. But, while I believe strongly in retreat, Sabbath, holiday- however you wish to name it – the fact is that my life is not in the woods. How can I live deliberately in the middle of the city? This is the question of the ages, I suppose.

I’m reminded of a story my yoga teacher told one night in class. She had been invited on a cruise for several yoga instructors sponsored by Yoga Journal. After a few days, they ran into rough seas, and as they practiced on the deck, all of these experienced teachers began falling out of poses, struggling to find some balance as the waves rocked the boat back and forth. And, she said, this was the perfect place to practice yoga: Not on a mountain top or a serene private beach, but on the choppy water, with its unexpected movements and aloofness.

This story has stuck with me, and it’s been on mind a lot the past few weeks. That’s why it never stops being practice. That’s why you can only be deliberate in this moment, and then the next, and then the next. Whether you’re in the woods, or the city, or the ocean.

So, each morning, I roll out my yoga mat, and stretch my tired limbs, and breathe, and balance, and practice.

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