Here’s a little news from the hayloft: the owl hutches are full … of baby owls! Come on out and peek up to see if you might catch a glimpse!
One of the most tangible benefits of yoga in such a magnificent space is that practicing in the barn offers us the opportunity to sofetn, nurture, and strentghen all of our sense organs:
We soften the gaze out toward Blanchard Mountain to give the eyes a break from close-up computer screens, or even simply from being indoors all day, where the most distant ocular point is the wall or the window. Some of the yoga teachings offer “eye yoga,” exercises for the eyes that can actually improve vision. There are numerous papers & articles documenting that time outdoors also improves vision, attributed by some to the ultraviolet light, or that the eye muscles get the opportunity to focus on shapes, forms, and colors at a wide variety of distances. In yoga, the dristi is a single point of focus. It is most often mentioned in balancing poses (helping us to maintain balance through a point of focus through which we gaze softly). Keeping a dristi, we see that our mind calms and we can find inner stillness.
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence … we need silence to be able to touch souls.
HEARING : EARS
Our busy lives are filled with so much noise that we tend to shut off from the barage of sensory input in an attempt at self-preservation. This legitimate form of pollution has wide-ranging adverse health, social, and economic effects. Cars, jets, TV, radio … it is more important than ever that we take time to give our hearing a break from the barage. Yoga in the hayloft gives us a beautiful opportunity to listen, really listen, without being accosted with discordant sound that takes us away from our curious awareness and into a defensive state. In a relaxation pose, we can close the eyes and soften the ear canals toward the throat, unhinging the jaw, and sinking into the support of a blanket. We tune to the soothing sounds of the horses stirring, eating, shifting their weight in stalls below, the sounds of the songbirds inside and outside the barn, and the voices of frogs, cows, and hawks occasionally greet us. All of these create a gentle symphony to soothe our sense of hearing, our ability to hear. This helps us to shift our listening inward and give our inner world our full attention. We can often be surprised at what we can learn from this simple, gentle exercise of listening in. It is one of the most wholesome and healthy practices we can engage in.
Silence is more musical than any song.
TOUCH : SKIN
The yoga postures give us the opportunity to bring our awareness to the skin, which we often take for granted.
It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.
In the hayloft, we notice the temperature of the air on our skin, we feel our bodies in contact with the floor, and we honor this organ of skin which literally holds our body into one form. As awareness spreads across the skin, we can gain a sense of gratitude and appreciation for being in this body, alive, moving, breathing, living. We associate the hands with touch, but we can also explore the sensations of the skin of the rest of the body, stretching in each pose, expanding: the sense of breath on the upper lip, the sense of softening the wrinkles in the face, the sense of spreading the skin of the feet to find a strong yet supple standing posture. What a glorious organ, the skin!
I look forward to more practice in the hayloft!