My dear friend Heather has so graciously agreed to write a guest post for us. She just moved here from New Orleans and the Austin Yoga Community could not be luckier. She has been teaching yoga in New Orleans and I hope each of you has the pleasure of flowing with her sometime. With endless gratitude...
It seems as if we've all found ourselves too busy to practice asana (poses) at one time or another. My first lapse was after Hurricane Katrina. Prior to the storm, I would spend the cooler morning hours on my balcony, practicing as the birds flew past and the nearby Mississippi River port creaked her early morning complaints. When my husband, dogs and I evacuated, I took enough yoga clothes for a few days, my mat, and a book on butterfly gardening. My husband packed a few clothes, his video camera and laptop, while the dogs brought their beds, leashes, treats, and blankets. It still amazes me that in the face of losing so much, we took so little. I had no idea how long my practice would be set aside or how much it would mean to find it unscathed beneath the rubble.
A couple of years later, we began rebuilding our home. Life in a construction zone propelled me toward a neighborhood yoga studio. The return to asana was akin to reuniting with an old friend. Like any good friend, she harbored no ill feelings toward my absence. She understood completely... other aspects of life demanded my full attention. She made it clear that she would be there no matter what and that she would never hold my choices or circumstances against me.
Most recently, my husband, dogs, cat and I sold our home in New Orleans and moved to Austin. Months were spent on ladders, painting every inch of our old home to prep it for sale. Hours slipped by working in the garden. Carpenters helped finish longstanding projects. We received an offer the first day the home was listed. Packing ensued. We hired movers, looked for a place to live and made plans to settle into a new environment.
Again, the swift change of current allowed the practice to escape me. Had I placed it in a box and taped it closed without labeling it? Would I ever find it again? Did the movers accidentally ship it to the wrong address? Would I even be able to touch my toes by the time I got it back? I was met with anxiety, which worsened day by day. Guilt set in, then resentment because I felt guilty about not practicing, followed by inertia, despair, crankiness... (you get the point) when finally, it occurred to me that asana had provided the strength and focus to prepare the home, to precariously balance on twelve foot ladders, paint ceilings, lift furniture, and gain the courage (albeit shaky) to step into the unknown. I'd been practicing the entire time.
I arrived in Austin untethered and slightly wild-eyed, but life returned to a pace that allowed me to swim to shore and engage in daily physical practice. I soon found myself drawn to grounding restorative classes and slow-moving vinyasa, my roots spread a bit deeper despite the foreign soil, and, just as promised, my old friend was there to greet me with open arms.