I’m not a skier. I’m not like my friend Deb, who revels in sheer delight at the thought of hitting the slopes again. I like the heat. I like my shorts and tank tops and, until last year, I was front and center in the choir of malcontents chanting “don’t go” to summer sunsets at the outer beach.
Then one day on my yoga mat, I was feeling the depth of holding a pose and recognized a familiar dread. I heard my monkey mind wanting to avoid the heat of the pose I was in. Holding a pose drops me in to a deeper “feeling” of who I am physically and emotionally. The “tapas,” the fire of feeling the depth, sparked resistance and an
“I wanna get outta here” response.
For me, the rotated triangle pose is like driving on a slippery road. Get me outta there fast! I don’t want to lose control. Holding the pose can also be like watching the sun go down at 4:00. If I think about how early it gets dark, I feel like I’m missing out on some valuable daytime. If I concentrate on how I’m the only one in class whose back heel is way off the mat, I start to wonder how I can even consider teaching a yoga class.
So last year I decided to look forward to rotated triangle. I welcomed the dark area of self-doubt and disappointment which lurked inside the pose. I decided there was probably something great waiting for me inside of it. As I gradually made an alliance with the pose, I noticed that off the mat I was beginning to make a similar alliance with the onset of fall and winter. A first for me!
In a meditation, it gelled for me. It struck me that Mother Nature, in all of her infinite wisdom, has built everything that we’ve all been asking for right into her cycle of seasons … shorter days, longer nights and colder temperatures to aid us in slowing down, pulling in, snuggling up, and sleeping more. It became obvious to me that I’d been dreading that which I’d been begging for. Why fight the gift of darkness where every cell in my body lulls me into longing for a couch pillow under my knees, a book, and a cat in my lap?
Let me go one step further. Just as we get the hang of finding our scarves and bundling up, as we surrender into the delight of less traffic and less franticness, we get hit with “The Holidays.” We have to suppress our natural instinct to draw inward and instead rev it up and hail our way into “X more shopping days till Christmas.” What a contradiction. So last winter I refused many party invitations and chose instead to stay home, cook soups, go to bed earlier, and nestle with my animals and husband. Wow, what a great November and December I had! Simply by following my instincts and the call of nature, I was able to forego the pressures of overindulgence and find a much deeper pleasure.
I fell in love with this time of year – taking pleasure in the quiet of the days, the light of low sunlight hitting the bare tree branches, and the cold, icy freshness of the morning air. By learning to linger longer in the twisted posture of rotated triangle, I had untwisted my outlook on winter.
This year, quietly and with more time on my hands, I’m slowly getting my heels down. I’m allowing myself to get grounded and be one with the pose and with the season. And yet before I know it, I’ll be outside looking for those little crocuses to peek their heads up through the soil. The cycles of life are to be lived and loved.
I hope you’re enjoying the winter as well as the anticipation of spring, and most of all, I wish you a happy
By Tricia Duffy, Winter 2004
Patricia Duffy is owner and director of Oasis Integrative Therapies and director at the Life Center for Health Yoga Studio in Orleans. She has a Master’s in Counseling from Antioch, and is a Licensed Massage Therapist in practice for 18 years, specializing in medical massage. She is a certified Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist and has certifications in yoga teacher training in both Kripalu and Iyengar Yoga.