Last Sunday, the clouds separated revealing a dark blue sky and a bright sun that hadn’t been seen on the Northern California coastline in weeks. Ocean spray danced in the spring breeze, and I sat outside, wearing a tank top and munching on strawberries. Although it was cold and goosebumps formed on my skin, the feel of the sun was amazing.
My winter has been spent mostly at home, working a winter job at a newspaper during the week and kayaking in local waters on the weekends. Every now and then I’ve traveled to a winter symposium, or taught a clinic or two, but for the most part I’ve been catching up on home life.
Sitting outside feeling the warmth of the sun was a reminder. Summer is rapidly approaching and my year is full. I am looking forward to instructing in seven states and eight countries over the next few months. The sun was also a reminder of how much I have to do before I leave. I have a skeg to replace, a skin-on-frame kayak that needs patching and another kayak that is screaming out for some gelcoat repair. All of my gear needs to be thoroughly washed, hung to dry (in the sun) and organized into bins to make packing for specific trips easier. Excitement for the upcoming months of travel is starting to kick in, and so is the overwhelming feeling of having so much to do before I leave, while jugging both a job and a home life (we all know that feeling!).
I was sitting on my mat in the yoga studio yesterday morning, my fingers in Shuni Mudra, my eyes closed and my mind racing all over the place. I kept telling myself to shut it all out, “let go of everything” as a good yogi will do… well sometimes I lack that ability. My body was in the perfect posture and my eyes were closed… yeah, at least I looked like a good yogi. I straightened my back, took a deep breath and felt the warmth of the sun shining through the skylight. Mmmmm, summer. My thoughts drifted again to broken gear, sandy gear, articles to write and even this blog, which you are reading now. So much to do before getting back on the road… but then a thought hit me, I’m doing it. I am getting ready for the summer merely by being in a yoga studio, committing to this 90 minutes of connecting with myself… and I shut off my mind.
Winter is often a time of hybernation. It’s filled with comfort foods and snugging up in front of fires with hot, chocolaty beverages. It’s often more appealing to sit in a movie theatre inside than brave a thunderstorm outside on an afternoon bike ride. Winter does it to all of us… whether we like to think it or not, we tend to get a little lazy. It often takes a day of sunshine to wake us up and remind us to take care of ourselves.
As I moved through asana after asana I stretched this way and that, opening up to the sun that warmed the room through the many windows. Stretch after stretch made me realize that this is the best way to get ready for the season ahead. It is way more important than that cracked gelcoat that needs fixing, or that tow belt that needs a new carabiner. I stretched and smiled, thinking of all the places I’m going to go and people that I’m going to meet, as well as trips I’m planning and beaches that I’m going to walk on.
I’m not quite ready for summer yet, but I’m a little more ready than I was last week and a little less ready than I will be next week as my body stretches and slowly wakens from its winter state.