the ancient healing arts of yoga and Thai yoga massage the ancient healing arts of yoga and Thai yoga massage
Wavelengths by Caroline Owen
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Planting Seeds of Yoga

greenhouseEvery morning this spring, I have risen with the sun and gone outside to my little greenhouse, where I practice yoga in the form of healing chants from the vedas (texts that were passed down orally for thousands of years). There’s a blessing to the earth that brings strength to the little seedlings, a chant honouring the sun that nourishes the plants and my own ability to see clearly, a chant to the water that nourishes the creative forces, and a chant to the air that supports and nourishes prana, the energy of life itself.

After chanting, when it’s been warm enough, I spread out my mat on the deck (if it’s not warm enough, I go inside), facing the east, and practice sun salutations and other postures that bring life to my body and help me set a tone and intention for the day ahead.

After a winter of practicing inside, it feels incredibly freeing to extend my limbs into the limitless space of the newborn day, and to feel the sun on my face, the earth under my feet, the cool morning air on my skin and sometimes the dew still sparkling on the grass.

Practicing yoga outside brings with it a connection to the elements that has the power to open my heart in profound and surprising ways.

virginia fallsLast summer at Virginia Falls on the morning that our group was to begin our adventure down the swollen Nahanni River in the Northwest Territories, I got up early to practice yoga on the dock where the float plane lands. The dock faces Sunblood Mountain, which rises almost 5000 feet straight up from the river. The sun, which never sets during most of the summer, had not yet shown its face over the mountain top as I began.

As I practiced, I felt a deep connection to the land, and to my own history of guiding on the river for many years. I had led several yoga sessions on the helicopter pad near the dock (it was heaved by frost and destroyed a few years ago) as well as taught and practiced yoga at just about every camping spot on the river.

gurudasanaA few of the group participants joined me quietly during my practice and followed along without instruction. We moved together, taking in the incredible splendor of the place. Just as the sun crested the top of the mountain, we sat and I offered a chant to the sun. My breath joined the wind, my voice almost lost in the vast landscape. I felt the strength of the mountain and the endless flow of the river. I silently asked the sun to watch over the women on the trip and keep us safe on our journey. The tears of joy and gratitude that came were simply another expression of the flowing water around us.

Practicing in nature makes me stronger: not just physically, but in every way. I can meet the demands of life with more courage, see my own patterns more clearly, breathe more deeply and flow more effortlessly.

I recently planted the seedlings in the garden that have been nurtured by my chanting all spring. Not only are they strong and thriving, they’re already returning the favour and nourishing my partner and me, as fresh picked herbs and greens make up a part of almost every meal these days. Practicing in nature keeps me intimately aware of the inter-connection and inter-dependence of all living things. It makes me feel and know my inherent wholeness and appreciate the beauty all around and within me. Namaste.

© Copyright 2007 Wavelengths - Photos © Copyright 2007 David Makepeace