It has been twelve weeks since I added a regular yoga practice to my life and ceased my daily, morning walks. The change was a gift from lupus. There have been few days that I did not participate in a full yoga flow and only a day or two that I did not practice at least one pose.
The gifts of yoga have been many and continue to come but I miss walking Waverly, a park I have come to know in all seasons. It is a trusted place. Admittedly, during most yoga sessions memories of Waverly drop in and out.
I hoped to return and have.
It is still too soon to tell whether or not a daily walk may return to my regular regimen but that I was able to walk all around the pond means Waverly is still a possibility from time to time. As often happens at Waverly, it was a walk of wonder for the wildlife is rich and varied. I like to think my return was noticed.
As the images reveal, all of the usual suspects came out, if not to say hello at least to give me a glance. I was especially thrilled to see this creature, whom I have only glimpsed twice before. On this day, there was patience for a portrait.
Turtle Row is especially populous on this bright fall morning with all sizes welcome. Snowy egrets walk water’s edge, sampling the bounty of the pond. As I cross the bridge, the falling leaves crackle as they catch a crisp, momentary breeze.
In every direction is awe for the seeing, and I gawk. After some time I realize I have assumed Mountain Pose or Tadasana: spine straight, knees together with toes pointed in slightly to even my stance, head lifted in full appreciation of just being at Waverly.
Among the many gifts of yoga is learning to move mindfully, neither straining nor restraining the body but moving according to its level of flexibility. Yoga is my dialogue with my physical self; each movement opens my body to response. I have come to recognize the sensation of the flow of my own energy, my own Waverly.
In the real Waverly, my steps are deliberate—once I would have characterized them as slow—sinew connects muscle to bone in simultaneous stride, a mind-body connection. There is a light awareness of sensation with every breath, with every step.
It is a familiar, meditative energy that I have come to appreciate for it is present in a moment of monkey mind or one of being with nature. Such a meditative state always serves, highlighting the sensation of the physical self as the mind drops in thought after thought.
Walking Waverly, I open to its energy, swinging my arms and flexing my fingers just because I can. Images of past yoga sessions drop in and out of my walk, as if to remind me of the first time I felt warmth coursing up and down my legs. It is the energy of life.
I remember that I have not always acknowledged the energy of my life. Just because I was able to walk did not mean I was mindful of my body movement in any regard. It is possible I am receiving another chance despite decades of inattention to my physical self other than to constantly demand of it.