My friend and fellow yoga teacher and I hiked the trails at Vallmeyer Salt Quarry in southwestern Illinois today. It was a beautiful October day: warm, sunny, and glorious! We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect outing.
We got out of her SUV, slapped on our backpacks, and pulled out a map from the trail description in the parking lot. We were so excited to be out in nature that we took off at a fast clip. That soon turned to a lot of huffing and puffing when we realized we were heading up a steep incline that would take us to the scenic overlook on the bluff we were climbing.
Sarah led the way and I followed like a puppy not wanting to stray too far from its friend. I’m afraid of heights, and I became more aware of that fact as the trail narrowed and climbed. I told myself to just breathe (which was a bit difficult because my heart was racing), but then I calmed down and realized I was safe and in good company. It helped too that I’ve been taking the 3 flights of stairs at work for 2 months now. My butt is starting to bubble and firm. Look out Kim Kardashian.
Throughout the hike, Sarah and I visited, laughed and talked about life in general. Sarah has been a constant source of inspiration and motivation for me in the 8 years I have known her. It was good to get to know her more as a person than as a yoga teacher in the classroom. I felt so honored that she shared life stories with me, and I was happy to hear her rebellious, raucous laughter. It’s exactly what my heart needed today. Red-heads are good for that.
One of my favorite parts of our hike: finding inspirational moments to just break out in yoga poses. We climbed on a boulder and did whatever pose came naturally to us. We rejoiced when we saw a beautiful field of corn and the rolling bluffs looming over them. I did wheel pose and Sarah did a sublime mountain pose with arms out-streched. It felt good to have the sun on our faces and the warm air embracing us.
After the trail, we drove to the park nearby and did yoga on our mats in the shade. Four Harley guys sat underneath the nearby pavilion as we finished our stretches. It was humorous to hear them cursing “God dammit” and trying to figure out their cell phones as we sat in silent meditation. I also heard the chirping of crickets, a buzzing of an insect, the dog tags on the sheepdog’s collar as his owners walked him past us. The breeze and shade soothed me and I felt at peace knowing that all good things are coming because all good things are with me right in the here and now. I don’t think I could have asked for a better friend or day to help me get back in touch with that free and happy side of myself. Namaste, Sarah.