Yoga Week Four: Still There is Joy

It is a morning of distractions.

We arrive at class in 35-degree temperatures, a sure change from the 70s we enjoyed just a few days ago.

To exacerbate the issue, the news stations are embellishing the impending snowstorm with dire predictions.

The landscape workers are weeding and chopping and leaf-blowing and mowing — right outside the window.

An iPhone chimes nearby making me think *email* like Pavlov’s dog.
The instructor wears a knee brace and we all wonder why.
The woman next to me falls over in a bit of seasonal vertigo.
And the music meant to drown out the landscapers makes me suddenly hungry for Indian food.

We are in our beginning asana, a seated position…

“Feel yourself against the Earth,” the instructor says.

She encourages us to feel the strength of that connection. The stability it offers.
She encourages us to feel the sweetness of that connection. The joy it offers.

Shtira. Sukha.

She talks about the things we think about: the distractions, the concerns, the pains we all sit with in our day-to-day, and there, in our asana.

“But,” she reminds us, “even in those, there is sweetness. There is joy.”

“Feel yourself against the Earth,” she repeats throughout the class.

Shtira. Sukha.

The message is appropriate, especially today. She’s asking us to be in the moment — when everything around us demands otherwise. If we can find our way to this — to a moment of stillness, to a moment of breath, to a moment of connection — we can find our way to steadiness and joy.

Shtiram sukham asanam
(The seat is stable and pleasurable)

– Verse 2:46, Yogasutra, by Patanjali

• • •

Photo ©2011, Jen Payne

Yoga Week One: It Will Come
Yoga Week Two: When Yoga is Only Part of the Big Picture
Yoga Week Three: Applying Stillness
Yoga Week Four: Still There is Joy
Yoga Week Five: Loving Kindness
Yoga Week Six: In Your Bones

6 thoughts on “Yoga Week Four: Still There is Joy

Add yours

  1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who takes pictures of her feet. :-)

    There something almost magical about the changing of the seasons. Senses become heightened and I always feel closer to the Earth. On my way to work the other, I stopped walking and took a really deep breath. The morning air was a bit chilly and the light of the sun was barely shining over the mountains. I felt the air go into my lungs and I smiled. That moment carried me through the whole day. :-)

    1. I love this time of year – summer melding into fall. Of course, right now in New England, we’ve got summer melding into winter, which is a bit of a shock. But I agree, the seasons always seem to connect us back to the Earth. And allows to see the patterns of change in her and in ourselves.

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