Thursday, September 25, 2008

Yoga at the Edge of the World

For like the fourth Sunday in a row, my family goes to the beach for the late afternoon and dusk. I cannot help myself. I have become the kind of person who sits on the shore, right at the water’s edge, and does yoga.

I worry somewhat about this. I don’t want to look pretentious, laughable, or more likely, crazy. I even ask my husband, Do I look okay? I reassure myself that I must look passably socially acceptable because I have the perceptible normalcy of spouse and lovely children going for me.

In any case, my ego worries are not as strong as my irrepressible urge to celebrate the glory of the beach. What better than with my favorite and most heartfelt kind of prayer?

There is no yoga surface as intriguing as sand. You haven’t done standing poses until you’ve done them on shifting sand in the moving sea. (Yeah, technically, I haven’t done them either because I always fall. But that’s so not the point.)

Also irresistible to me is doing poses atop the rough rocks that dot the shoreline. I did some kick-ass tree poses, made all the more awesome by the rugged uneven rock below my feet, the constant churning of the water, and the danger that if I lose my balance and fall, I am not only going to be completely embarrassed as onlookers rush to my aid, but I am also going to seriously injure myself on a lower rock. Nothing makes you focus on balance in the present moment like the awareness that both your body and your pride are in peril.

Sitting in lotus on the unforgiving yet so comforting surface of a broad sun-warmed rock, my breath and the rhythm of the ocean are one. The horizon …and me… and you… are everything.

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