Is there anything more wonderful than the smell of bonfire in your hair? OR, Is there anything more wonderful than the sound of a an ocean lapping the shore while being warmed by a bonfire. To my delight I’ve been lucky to have both this week…It must be summer in Northern Spain! It has been a true delight of the senses as we celebrated Noche de San Juan (June 23/24) and the beginning of summer vacation. For the next few months with a house full of children and the beach tempting us, it will be hard to stay focused on a daily mat practice. Just this week I have found my yoga drifting outdoors including a sporadic session of balance poses while touring our town with my son “the photographer”, and while kayaking on the river that threads it’s way through Bilbao working on some arm and core building poses. Yoga is all around us and the mat is just only one place to find it. Don’t let a mat stand in your way is my mantra this week.
Some days are a haunting reminder of the past. As you have made progress on the road to your life there are dark moments or traits that resurface to remind you that you aren’t quite finished yet. I imagine that when life comes to a close, barring tragic death, that you might end life having worked through some of your personal madness and refined the attitude to become your best personal self. Then again this could just be the idea of my ideal, which again leads me in a circle back to the reoccurring dark moments. Funny and true!
The practice of yoga makes me feel incredibly bright and beautiful. Even if for just the time I am on my mat or sharing a genuine and heartfelt moment with someone, if I have yoga in my life I am my best self. Yoga to me is the meeting of the hard and the soft, the body and the mind, and bringing the balance in to a full alive wakening. Practicing in the morning is a gift for the whole day as it kick starts the opportunity for possibilities that lie ahead.
My asana practice today was this beautiful sequence that I hope to revisit again and again. Jo Tastula’s early morning practice @ http://www.yogaglo.com/video_2383_l.html
I took the above photo in the town of Vitoria, Spain last week 6/6/2013. A gorgeous blooming weed was growing in the gutter of the wall surrounding the old city. It was full of shri! Vitoria is the capitol of the Basque region and the old town is worth an overnight. The public murals, old cathedrals, history and people are all enchanting for both the old and young, modernist and historian.
This day ends a year abroad for the first of my immediate family. Our daughter is returning home to the US after completing a year in Europe as a prospective student. It takes a tremendous amount of courage for a young adult to step out of their comfortable place in the nest of a family and face the road ahead somewhat alone. Our daughter entered in to a program she knew little about and had to summon up a ton of strength, balance, effort and courage to face the unknown. In not having a big safety net of support she had to evaluate whether this year would determine whether she could commit or even enjoy a college experience that would lead to a demanding lifestyle and career path. She is a winner for seeing it through, giving herself the time to really think about it and even in her choice to determine that in fact, that was not where she wanted to be. She can not see how she has made this year a success yet by it’s my hope that when she is further down her path, or even advising a friend or child of her own, that this year will be a marked memory of learning, growing and succeeding.
As we send her back and remain in our own location fro the next 4 weeks I am determined to grow my own strength of courage and tackle some of the asanas of yoga I falsely fear.
Today’s asana practice was this video by Tiffany Cruikshank on YogaGlo, a strenuous vinyasa flow titled “Be Courageous” http://www.yogaglo.com/video_2939_l.html.
The photo above is by me taken out our front window of a sweet little bird on a roof top in Getxo, Spain. She is alone, yet part of a group that has already taken flight.
Today’s asana practice by Darren Rhodes on YogaGlo.com entitled “Steadiness & Perspective” (http://www.yogaglo.com/online-class-1949-Steadiness–Perspective.html,) combined with an incredible morning of kayaking down the ocean channels of Plentzia, Spain has made me more aware of greeting the unknown with an open mind. Both things required the strength of even and full breath work. Both things required a steadiness of mind so as not to get caught up in expectations or thrown off balance because of new directions or instruction. It was a very fulfilling day in giving over to the natural balance of life when the unknown lies in front you and because of it I was able to move with the two qualities I mentioned yesterday, calm and patience.
The above photo was taken by me in Laredo, Spain on June 15, 2013. The weather in Northern Spain has been rainy and wet since January of this year. We have had just a few days of full sun, and as you can see by this photo, even this day we were not spared of afternoon showers. Laredo is a gorgeous beach town full of modern condominiums but with a sweet old town and beautiful walks through the hills towards the sea. The day we were here there were lots of para gliders and an Ironman Triathlon at the port. I highly recommend a visit. From Bilbao you can take a bus that is 6 Euro and takes 50 minutes.
The photo below was taken by me today in Plentzia, Spain as we kayaked through the buoyed fishing boats.
To be on route, to walk the walk, buen camino are all common phrases in Norther Spain as pilgrims move from Southwestern France towards Santiago de Compostel, Spain. It is a beautiful landscape full of rolling hills, sweet towns with field stone churches, vivid greens and blues and rustic pillars of brown. The walk is difficult and yet exhilarating. The comradery is comparable to a class reunion, meeting familar faces for an overnight or short trek again and again, wishing each other good walk at each encounter and learning while safeguarding the reasons for walking. A pilgrimage on the full camino can average the length of a season. It is a commitment that requires patience, endurance and faith.
My admiration for those on this trek is enormous. I truly love witnessing someone elses fullness of spirituality, whatever route or guide they may choose. Some of my favorite moments in life have been in the company of people celebrating a service, mass, or religious festival other than my own, or even what I know nothing of. The excitment and effervescence in song, common spoken word or dance is unifying, contagious and inclusive. For those on the camino, theirs may not seem like a celebration but there are still those moments of conragious joy that pull one in. Currently I feel that even though I am not walking anywhere I am on a spiritual journey as well. I wonder too if others I meet can feel the richness of it in my presence. I truly hope so.
It’s not quite summer yet but the fullness of life is bursting. To be alive and aware of the pleasures make me feel very grateful for this time on earth. The last 2 days my yoga has become a daily walk followed by a walking meditation.