This morning, I did my yoga practice in my backyard. The dew was still fresh on the grass and the birds were chirping in my trees. I unrolled my mat and walked on the uneven cushion the grass underneath provided. I inhaled and stretched my arms out wide. I exhaled and brought my arms by my side. My body was awakening to the rhythm of this morning.
All my aches and pains from the 7 hours of immobile sleeping and the days and nights of slumping and standing, sitting and pushing, lifting and grabbing, melted away with each inhalation, exhalation and controlled yet fluid movement.
In one sequence, I was on my stomach preparing for locust pose. I rooted my pelvis, toes and legs into the earth, brought my arms behind me, rolled my shoulders back, inhaled and exhaled into a strong yet fluid back-strengthening pose. I opened my eyes and before me I saw a tiny raindrop on a blade of grass. My eyes refocused and I came out of the pose and looked again and I saw a multitude of dewdrops before me. Out of nowhere, tears of gratitude and appreciation welled up in my eyes. How miraculous to see all the blades of grass before me with one tiny dewdrop on each of them. The first thing I thought of was Walt Whitman’s line, “A child said to me, ‘What is the grass?’ fetching it to me with full hands; / How could I answer the child?. . .I do not know what it is anymore than he.” How wonderful to think that a simple blade of grass, a dewdrop, a flower, a tree that we take for granted is hard to explain when you really contemplate on its true essence.
I remember last fall watching Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s new series of Cosmos and in one episode he talked about multiverses and what is inside a raindrop. I was fascinated to learn that a raindrop is it’s own universe – filled with living microscopic organisms in a symbiotic relationship with one another. (I guess I knew all of this from 7th grade science, but to see it represented on my big screen Hi-Definition TV was fascinating and really made it sink into my brain.) And Tyson kept going and smiled and said inside these microscopic organisms are a small universe inside that keeps them going. The same can be said for our bodies as well. We’re all composed of atoms and elements, bacteria and blood, muscle and bone that came from some Big Bang way out there. We’re made of Star Stuff. To quote Tyson: “We are part of the universe; we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both those facts is that the universe is in us.”
I went on with my practice: breathing to my own rhythm and relaxing into my body, which isn’t perfect and which sometimes creaks and cracks more than I would like it to. My mind was clear and sometimes it wasn’t and I was worrying about what I would fix for lunch. I was in tune with my body and my alignment and poses were impeccable and sometimes I wasn’t and my alignment was slightly off and I started to feel a tiny little tweak in my lower back so I slowly came out of headstand. I went through a series of emotions in that short span of an hour: excitement, contentment, bewilderment, anger, calm, love, joy, gratitude, confusion and back to gratitude again.
During the last pose before relaxation, I watched a tiny little sweat bee land on my mat and rest before skipping to the dewdrops for a morning drink. And briefly during this yoga practice I felt connected to every aspect of life, to the plants, the trees, the grass, the sky, the sun, the birds, the bees and the dewdrops. Home in a universe that contains multitudes of universes.
To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every cubic foot of the interior swarms with the same;
Every spear of grass–the frames, limbs, organs, of men and women, and all that concerns them,
All these to me are unspeakably perfect miracles. -Walt Whitman