Early morning. The sacred Ganga, honey colored as it reflects the early light of the still to rise sun just behind the mountain, flows steadily and softly by.
The unrelenting sing-song voice of a devotee, accompaning himself on a harmonium, plays his morning songs to the waking day.
There is a deep silence which welcomes other early morning heralds: bells are chimed, a horn honks, dogs bark, the sound of a drum blends with the crackling and chirping of birds; the notes of a flute waft in on the wind. These Indian voices all fit into a harmony which is unfamiliar to the ears of a foreigner.
An expanded peacefulness and reassurance in these timeless ancient routines, capture the heart and nourish it.
This is a very relaxing position that offers a sense of well-being. It resonates in many different ways, as is true for many asanas, when investigated carefully. One day in class I asked each person to tell us how they experienced the baby pose after having repeated it several times. It was an illuminating experience for all of us because almost every person had a different reaction to the pose.
This led me to realize how differently each one of us relates to a pose and what little thought is given to the diversity that can be found while doing the same pose! It is fascinating to adventure into this kind of investigation.
Here are some of the observations that were made:
-Resting one’s body on the earth is reassuring.
-There is a sense of bowing reverently to the earth.
– By enfolding oneself into this position, a meditative state comes about naturally.
-This position has a double quality: embracing (the earth) implies a component of acceptance of the self.
-There is a reminiscence of being in the safety of the womb: covered and protected by the uterus.
– A great benefit is felt by those who have painful spinal curvatures. Due to the passive lengthening and opening movement of the spinal column, an overwhelming sense of relief is experienced.
– All of the above, led to profound relaxation.
The shape of this position is reminiscent of a snail, a shell, or even an ear: it is a form that is found universally creating a resonance without necessitating a definite definition.
Although most people greatly enjoy this position and find it beneficial and relaxing, there is a minority that do not find it particularly pleasant.
“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine to the mind.”
― Luther Burbank
There is a wonderful window of time in Tuscany when fruit trees and flowers burst forth in a range of colors that bring joy to the heart. The variety of these superb messengers of spring give a constant lift to the spirits when walking in the city or driving through the countryside.
Greens abound; lime leaves as tender as a baby, bold chartreuse new entries, first arrivals brushed with shamrock and whispers of emerald, enchant the eye.
The majesty and generosity of mother nature touches and cheers.
The following is an excerpt from “The Yoga Gardener and Other Thoughts”, a collection of my writing on yoga, gardening, and life, which is being prepared for publication.
PLANT TIME – HUMAN GARDENS
We are used to planning, getting, doing and finishing up and perhaps give little thought to the different rhythms of life that surround us. Plants have their own sense of time and show us how to nurture patience. Many seeds teach me quite a lesson. They germinate on God’s time and that may be irritatingly slow!
Sometimes it seems hopeless and impossible that there could be any life at all in a seed or bulb that has not yet sprouted in what seems like dormant soil. No little green spike pokes its head through the soil. Then I remember the comment made by a professional gardener when I complained that a plant was very frustrating in its almost negligible growth.
“Five years in gardening time,” he said “is really very little.”
That gave me pause to think.
What would it be like if we were to consider our bodies and minds as a special garden? Each human garden has many different varieties of seed that, just like the plants, vary in the pace of their growth. Some parts of our human plot seem barren and unpromising. There may be some vegetation in our garden that has not yet sprouted and so we forget about its existence.
Instead of water and sun, there are joys that nourish us: Joys like a special painting, a particularly significant piece of music, the dear voice of a child or the unforgettable smile of a lover. Paradoxically, the ache of a sorrow may also nourish with slow sadness transforming an experience which ripens the soil of the soul.
All of us live within our own garden, although we may forget and neglect our great invisible plot.