Rocky Mountain Sūrya Namaskāra

Inspired /slash brought on by my relocation to Canada's Rocky Mountains and a newfound love for vinyasa flow.

The air is crisp and quiet, trees silhouetted black against the brightening sky. Mountaintops dig like old and uneven teeth into the horizon, white caps dark in the impending dawn. All is still, all is silent.

Śavāsana. I rest with the world. I wait, fingers outstretched and palms upward facing, eyes open but unfocused. We wait, the world and me, for the sun to rise. In this it does not disappoint.

A great white fire blossoms on the mountains, rising above the teeth-like crags into the sky. With its rise the forest comes to life. Chirrups of birds roll over my body, so I roll with them. As I shift from supine to prone the crickets awaken from slumber, adding their clicks and whistles to the tuning noises of nature’s symphony.

Face-down, I stretch my arms forward, feeling cool grass between my fingers. Bālāsana. I spend only a few moments here, ocean breath echoing from my lungs in preparation.

Caturaṅga Daṇḍāsana, Ūrdhvamukhaśvānāsana, Adho Mukha Śvānāsana.

My breath takes me through these movements, with these breaths I thank the sun in his golden brilliance. I breathe the breath of the forest, exhaled for millennia by towering trees and their more fleeting floral counterparts, exhaled by the creatures I seek to echo through my practice.

A shudder shivers up my arms and legs, my body resisting the call to wakefulness. Not wanting to betray my body, I give in. Tāḍāsana.

The sun climbs ever higher, sending an infinite number of rays to comb the forest to life, illuminating the mountains with a golden sheen.

Hasta Uttānāsana. My arms follow the ascent of the sun, reaching toward the green-gold canopy. My eyes flutter closed as I think of the shining radiance of the sun, blocking off all other images but the soft glow seen through the flesh of my eyelids. The sounds of the wild still float into my ears, disembodied voices of unseen and unknown creatures.

As I hold my arms upward I extend my reach higher, stretching through my spine and coming to the tips of my toes. I continue to pull in breath like the waves of an ocean, inhaling and exhaling with a mighty whoosh of swirling wind. When I can no longer stand the ache in my shoulders, I allow my arms to drop, my spine to fold, my heels to anchor themselves on the soft ground once more. Uttānāsana.

The sun warms my back with its gentle caresses and a smile crests my lips. I sway gently, moved by an invisible force, fingertips brushing the grass.

Eventually, when my body is anxious for movement and ready to embrace an awakened state, I repeat my flowing movements from earlier.

Caturaṅga Daṇḍāsana, Ūrdhvamukhaśvānāsana, Adho Mukha Śvānāsana.

And then I hold, remain still, and enjoy the physicality of my body. I stretch my limits, challenging my body to be at active rest, pressing my palms and toes into the ground. The earth is cool beneath my digits, soft yet unyielding. It is lively in its stillness, as I seek to be.

When I know my limit has been surpassed, when my trembling limbs cry out for relaxation, I fall slowly onto my knees, my body following the metronome of my breath. My trunk rises so I am kneeling, back stick straight, head tilted back so my eyes can rake the sky in a quest for new sights. Vajrāsana.

I continue to breathe with intentional force, adding my sound to those of the forest. I join in nature’s salute to the dawn, allowing my life, conscious, strength, courage and power to grow. And as I bend forward to rejoin my hands with the earth, the forest becomes once again quiet. I take the prone pose of a child, forehead pressed to the ground, nothing but my own humanity to distinguish me from the landscape that surrounds.

Another breath takes me to a cross-legged position, filled with cosmic illumination. Padmāsana. A buck wanders from the shadows beneath a tree, antlers mimicking branches. He snorts a plume of steam from his nostrils, regarding me with wide-eyed curiosity.

Slowly, I bring my hands to my chest, palms pressed flat as if in prayer, and bow. The lone deer dips his head, as if in acknowledgement of me, and continues on his way.

In the silence, a whisper passes my lips: Namaste.

The End

0 comments about this story Feed