Dear Yoga House Friends,
I’m sure you’ve been noticing the signs of spring in the Pacific Northwest-daffodils sprinkled around the yard, rhododendrons in fuchsia and pink, cherry blossoms donning what looks like a new pink dress and the weeping willows whose flouncy skirt becomes a brighter green each day. The days have been cool, breezy, grey and rainy interspersed with sun, blue skies, and rainbows. It’s extraordinary in its becoming-blooming, beckoning and emerging with new life and splendor.
This spring I’m becoming too. I’m becoming more observant of my day to day routines, my distractions and my curiosities. Spring has that effect on me-a bubbling up of ideas, visions and dreams yearning for a reality on the here and now stage of my life. One of my curiosities is moss. Yes, moss… the green stuff that many want to get rid of from their backyard. Moss has my attention. I’ve been doing my own self-study of moss and this is what I’ve learned.
In the beginning there was moss. It is a primal plant. It is simple – a one celled plant. Moss is non-vascular and rootless. It doesn’t produce pollen, seeds or flowers. Mosses can grow in the most unimaginable of places – dark places, between concrete slabs, on rocks and all sides of a tree. Mosses only require water to thrive. Mosses collectively provide more carbon offset than all of the trees in the world (!!) Mosses
There is more. But, you may wonder…what does moss have to do with yoga? Everything!enjoy the company of other mosses…in fact they do better in collaborative, cohesive environments. They need to maintain the heat and moisture. Mosses are functional. They have been used over the centuries as pillows stuffing, wound dressing and diapers. I’m sure they would make for a perfect and inexpensive yoga mat! Mosses are small and do not grow very tall on purpose. They need to hang out in what is called the “boundary layer” where the air is more still. If they were to grow taller and bigger they would then succumb to the “turbulent layer.” Their strength is in their smallness and groundedness. Moss is generous. Because they are rootless they can spread their spores outward and create a bed of vibrant moisture rich soil for other plant life to grow. Moss is like the bright covering of sparkling snow in the mountains. It provides color, texture and life in an otherwise dark, stark and barren winter and early spring.
In the beginning there was yoga. It’s a primal act – it’s our way of being. In the beginning there was YOU. You are original. And your gift to the world is unique and simple. Yoga today grows around the roots and lineages of yogis and ancient scriptures of our past-the sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, the rishis, Krishnamacharya, Iyengar, Indra Devi. Yogis today can absorb the nutrients of story telling wisdom and philosophy. Modern American yoga is more rootless and therefore diverse and creative. It has spread generously and abundantly. Yoga doesn’t flower rather it binds together in a cohesive web of wholeness and oneness. It is concerned with growth and transformation. Yoga can begin and grow between a rock and a hard place. It is resilient, hardy and only needs WATER. In other words, yoga needs the breath, air, flow of intention and an openness to receive a droplet of clear and practical wisdom. Yoga enjoys the company of others. Yoga is functional. Over the centuries it has been used to heal the body, mind and a broken heart. Yoga is grounded and humble. I’ve used yoga to help me raise four kids, maintain a healthy and light filled marriage and to provide a refuge when the rug is pulled from underneath. Yoga thrives in the boundary layer-savasana – when we meet ourselves in stillness, easefulness and deep inner peace. Yoga is colorful, multi-dimensional and a bright light on a dismal day.
Moss and yoga are right under our feet. A drop of water, an aware conscious breath is all it takes to come alive.
This spring I celebrate moss. As a yoga teacher and student I yearn to be more like moss; original, primal, simple, ordinary, generous, humble, small, resourceful, grounded, functional, resilient, hardy, vulnerable, rootless, collaborative, still, quiet and soft. I am less enamored by the “tulip yoga” that comes all packaged up in a bouquet of springtime-look-at-me-temporary-glee or the yoga that is so driven by its strongly held roots that it cannot spore around and see things from another trees perspective.
Yoga is more than seeing the forest for the trees. It’s seeing what we may have perceived to be invisible. It is becoming aware of what softens our step and colors the forest. It’s the little “mossy” things; a smile to a stranger, a thank you, a sorry, a shared meal with friends and family, an eruption of laughter, a good sleep, a fresh drink of water.
With love and appreciation.
Na MOSS te,