Follow the Sun

Another week, another lack of writing. So it goes in a crazy busy month. Thankfully some of the crazy is done (finished my three-week teaching at CCC yesterday – whoohoo!) and I have two weeks before the next crazy (four-week intensive yoga teacher training in Omaha) begins (holy wow!). And I’m throwing out another “thankfully” today because this morning was an all-around kick-ass way to celebrate the end of the “semester” and honor the change to the new season.

We had some storms roll through last night that not only interrupted our sleep (well, mine and Ben’s, not the kids, fortunately) but also pushed our morning plans (watching the Hastings Marathon from the sidelines in a friend’s front yard by Heartwell Park) back a bit. Lightning and whatnot made for a much later start for the races, but that allowed our little fam plenty of time to get all the way to the start line instead of just the route and a chance to visit with some friends pre-race. [Also, a side note….I thought I was done with running. I thought I was at peace with being done with running. This morning, being surrounded by the excitement of pre-race jitters and just the awesomeness that is the world of runners, I felt a longing to be back at it. Who knows. Maybe with the help of yoga and my chiropractor, I could do it again? I guess we’ll see.]

After both the full and the half groups started, we headed back to the park with the intention of making it back to the original plan of the friend’s front yard. Except then we got sidetracked by running into a different friend and her daughter who were manning a corner of the route and we started chatting and helping them clear sticks from the path. And before long, our whole little fam became accidental volunteers. We were helping direct traffic (HD was hilarious, standing there with a finger pointing the way they should go) and cheering (the kids lined up to give the runners high-fives which was beyond cute, but I felt bad because in order to hit Miss Raegan’s hand, a lot of them had to stoop as they ran past her. I mean, what’s a little extra thigh workout when you’re running 13.1 or 26.2 miles, right?!). Although we didn’t get to see everyone we knew who was running, we thoroughly enjoyed our hour, forty-five trek to spectate, guide, and cheer at the race, but we were on a time crunch because this mama had a marathon of her own to complete this morning.

In honor of the summer solstice, my dear yoga studio held an extended class this morning that consisted solely of 108 sun salutations. The number has to do with a lot of alignments in the universe and the body/soul, and this is something that some yogis do to mark the changing seasons. If you’re not familiar with an SS, here’s the quick breakdown: start with hands at heart center/inhale arms up/forward fold/inhale to table (straight back, hands on shins)/exhale forward fold and step back to plank (or kneeling plank which was the case for me for 103 of mine today)/chaturanga (move from plank down so your elbows are at 90 degrees, then scoop up into cobra or up dog)/down dog/step forward to forward fold/inhale up to table/exhale forward fold/inhale all the way/exhale hands to heart center. That’s one. Not even kidding. Now do you see why I opted to do kneeling plank for 103?! Wowzers.

But really? It was amazing. There were lots of people participating this morning and our fearless leader took us through in sets of 25 as she counted for us, allowing us to do/count the last 8 on our own (which is no small feat after you’ve taken your body and brain through that many rounds). Have I said yet that it was amazing? It was also challenging. I did the first five with full-on chaturangas and thought, “Oh. This is easy. I’ve got this.” And then my pride caught up with me and I quickly lost count and realized that there was no way in samhell that I was going to do all them without my knees ever touching the ground. There’s no room for pride (or potential injury) with July looming on the horizon.

After the first 25, we all smiled, got some water, and wiped the sweat that was starting to drip. After our second 25, we clapped and cheered a bit and wiped more sweat. After the third 25? Seriously, that was the worst set for me. I kept thinking, “Aren’t we done yet? This is taking forever!” which prompted me to count in my head during the final 25 so I would know exactly where we were and how much was left. That was actually the easiest set. I think I could see the “finish line” at that point and was pretty damn impressed that I’d already done 75 without having to take a break in child’s pose or sit out at all. Actually, everyone in the studio kicked ass the whole time, with every single person not only finishing, but doing so strongly and well. Needless to say, there were lots of smiles, high-fives, and even some champagne(!) when we were all said and done!

Like any yoga practice, doing 108 sun salutations is best when you have an intention in mind – a dedication for your practice. There is a song by one of my favorite yoga-introduced artists, Xavier Rudd, called “Follow the Sun” (you should totally check out the whole song here) that’s been going through my head for days leading up to this morning  for its title (duh) and its message:

Follow, follow the sun and which way the wind blows 
when this day is done.
Breathe, breathe in the air. 
Set your intentions. Dream with care. 
Tomorrow is a new day for everyone,
Brand new moon, brand new sun. 
So follow, follow the sun,
the direction of the birds,
the direction of love.
 For me, on my inaugural 108, my intention was all about completion. I was dedicated and determined (some might call me stubborn) to finish. I didn’t actually care if I did them all at the studio or if I had to finish up later at home, but once we got going, I realized that I would be able to meet my intention and I’d be able to do it there. Pretty amazing (sorry. my brain is fried from the last three weeks of teaching and clearly I need a thesaurus because how many times have I used the word “amazing” in this post?). 

I also chose to look at my practice this morning as a great start to the adventure that awaits me in Omaha. I’ve seen my syllabus now for the four weeks and I am in awe of all that we are going to do and learn. Completing the sun salutation challenge today showed me that I am strong and I am determined and I can do this. I just need to follow the sun, the birds, and the love, and wow, good things are going to come. So are sore muscles (having HD sit on my legs to take this picture post-108? Horrible!). But so are lots and lots of smiles. Namaste.

P.S. I totally wore my craziest pants on purpose today. Gotta be fierce and bold for 108! 

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