The Mountains

Mountains

Classes this week are being inspired by a 5-day Dru meditation retreat that I’ve just experienced at Snowdonia Mountain Lodge in the heart of Snowdonia. I always benefit from the stillness of the Mountain pose (tadasana), but discovered a much deeper stillness when surrounded by the presence of the mountains. If you find it difficult to stand in the stillness of Mountain pose, try and visualise your favourite mountain, or find a photograph of one that you like. Imagine yourself standing in front of that mountain, feet firmly planted on the earth and breathe that stillness and stability of the mountain into yourself.

The Mountains

Heads in the clouds, the mountains stand guard.

High and tall.

Clouds constantly shifting, revealing, then hiding.
Croaks and cries of ravens and buzzards,
Slow wingbeats, barely perceptible against the mountains.

The mountains watch, immoveable.

A road winds through the mountains.
Tiny cars crawling, carrying tinier people.
The road a narrow scar on the mountains.

The mountains stand, impeturbable.

Solid and still.

Water off a mountain’s back.
Water refreshes the mountain.
Waterfalls tumble, cleansing and washing away the debris.

A sliver of silver moon rises behind the mountains.
Slowly revealing it’s fullness.
Ghostly shapes of sheep at the foot of the mountains,
White in the moonlight.

Protected by the mountains.

A hooting of the wise owls.
Blessed by the mountains.

The fading moon drops behind the mountains across the valley
As morning awakes.
The mountains awake to a sprinkling of snow
Scattered from the heavens.

The hearts of the mountains are peaceful.

Lessons from a flamingo

flamingo

“Get yourself grounded and you can navigate even the stormiest roads in peace.” ~Steve Goodier

Flamingos? What do flamingos have to do with yoga? Well, I visited a wildlife centre this weekend, and there were flocks of bright pink flamingos in the midst of the muted grey British countryside. It made me think how beautiful they are and what an amazing colourful bird they are with their slender legs and long, long necks. But the smaller, brown birds are just as beautiful in their own way too. How easily we are drawn to the bright and exotic, forgetting the beauty in the seemingly more mundane.

And if we think we have difficulty balancing, be grateful not to be a flamingo! What wonderful science enables them to balance on just one of these tall, slender legs? I don’t know how heavy they are, but I’m guessing those huge wings and neck are not light. Watching them balance, they have a perfect stillness.  Neck and head curled round, just resting, grounded onto the earth beneath them. I think visualising birds like this or other natural things can help us to deepen our yoga practice and achieve our own point of stillness,  so next time I practice the crane or tree posture I might just try imagining a bright pink flamingo 🙂