Friday, September 24, 2010

Stretching myself

This summer, I spent every Saturday morning learning Tai Chi on Fairfield's Beach. I came to love those 7 a.m. sessions, so thankful that I live near the beach and that I am healthy enough to erperience and enjoy this wonderful ancient art.

But last night trumped every summer Saturday. Full moon beach yoga, followed by an hour of Kirtan, a call-and-response chanting performed in India's devotional traditions. It was a perfect night: a gently rolling sea, a slight breeze, and a nip of fall in the air, making my hooded Hilton Head sweatshirt the perfect garment for the evening. There was a huge bonfire blazing, and the full moon played peek-a-boo for half the yoga practice, until it finally broke free of the clouds, sending shimmering moonbeans across the water. It was the first practice that I found total peace with my eyes wide open, even during shavasana, the relaxation period at the end of each practice where I usually fight to stay awake. Last night I stared at the stars and the moon, and thought about how lucky I am.

After yoga, we gathered around the bonfire, led in the Kirtan chants by two women with the most magical voices. The wood was fragrant -- almost incense-like -- and the warmth of the fire kept my normally cold hands and toes toasty.

As the participants chanted around me, I stared into the fire, mesmerized by the dancing flames and crackling wood. I was incredibly relaxed, so at peace, and amazingly thankful for my life and where I am right now.

For three hours last night, there was not a second that I thought about my body and how much I want it to change.

I need to do this more often.

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