Monday, December 12, 2011

mother and son (repost & a hope for my future)

I witnessed something beautiful today. I arrived for Mysore practice around 4:30 and two of my teachers were there- Barbara to practice and Carla to assist those of us practicing. There was one empty mat, which belonged to Barbara's young son, Worcana. He was stalled for quite some time in the bathroom, doing whatever boys of 7 or 8 do in bathrooms for that long. Barbara was patiently waiting for a time and eventually decided to begin her practice. And I began mine- mat down, opening dedications made, ujjayi breath established. When Worcana came out of the bathroom, he hopped a little boy's hop onto his mat and began Surya Namaskar A. Carla talked him through a couple and he bent and folded and jumped with the ease of the unburdened body. It was, as it always is, sweet to see his pleasure.

And then Barbara stopped her practice, she was perhaps 6 or 7 poses in, and began to repeat them. And mother and son began moving through the poses together, she teaching him to respect, to cherish, each one, he smiling with a delight not often seen in the Mysore room. I couldn't help but sneak glances through my own bent and twisted limbs. Mother and child. Practicing together. The mother graceful and serene, the son giggling with joy. Both honoring the other's way.

I was reminded during this practice of something I read recently in Shadows of the Path, by Abdi Assadi. He has an entire chapter dedicated to romantic relationships and their connection to, and necessity in, spiritual growth. But there are just ten words in that chapter that have stayed in my ears and they are the words I heard with every stolen glance and childhood giggle.

Most of us consciously yearn for union with another person.

This is why we fall in love. This is why we have best friends. This is why we parent children. This is why we go to happy hour with co-workers. This is why we join churches or book clubs or running groups. And this is why we practice yoga in yoga centers. It's why we choose to, sometimes without grace, move our bodies into unusual, often unflattering, positions, let other people's sweat splash onto our mat, forgive farts and bad breath, and lie still, with our eyes closed, vulnerable on our backs, surrounded by countless strangers. It's the union that I witnessed between mother and child that was so beautiful. And by my mere glancing, I found a small part in it.

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