May 20, 2013

I am in my mid 50’s. I need to loose some weight. My hair is gray. There are some wrinkles on my face. Freckles have changed into age spots. I move more slowly than I used to. I wear glasses to read.

At 50 I took up Svaroopa yoga and it has breathed a new life into me. I embrace myself. Even when I look in the mirror and do not see the person I see myself as….25 years younger, flawless skin, light reddish hair……inside I am that person.

Today I did a 3 hour yoga class. As always, the class begins and ends with shavasana (the Corpse Pose) and a guided mindfulness meditation. I have moments where I experience what some people call the” zen-like mind”. No thoughts. Just a blank silence.

shavasana(from Google images)

Today when my teacher began the end of the class shavasana, she said what she says every time: ” As you settle into shavasana notice how your body feels.”

I momentarily held my breath as I heard my inner voice answer, “Perfect”.

That is a word I never associated with yoga. Or with myself. But there it was. Perfect. And that IS how I felt. In every sense. The whole moment. My whole being. My thoughts or lack of thoughts. The silence and the mind chatter. The muscle twitching.


It made me think of the mantra I sometimes use: So Hum. It means “I am that” or “I am this”. And that is what that “perfect” meant: “I am this”. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just this.

It was a lovely moment. A lovely place to be. Just this. And it was complete in itself. I was complete in myself.



There is part of us that
says it is never too late to be reborn
on the inbreath each morning.

Stephen Levine

sunrise breath

(photograph by Kathryn Howlett)

Mornings have become an addiction for me. They are quiet, soft and peaceful. They are beautiful and filled with wonder and hope. There is a stillness in the air that does not exist at any other time of the day. The birds wake with the light, slowly and gently they greet the day with their song. I marvel at the colors in the morning sky…..where do those colors come from? How can they be real colors?

I recently began a breathing practice called “So Hum”. So Hum translates as “I am this/that”.

I usually wake up before or around sunrise. I have begun to train myself to be still and to watch the sun rise. To breath in “So”, and to exhale “Hum”. To “be reborn on the inbreath each morning.”

I wish I could say I am able to carry that stillness and awareness throughout the day. But, I am not always able to do so. I try. I try every day without giving up because I believe that one day I will come to the end of a day and say “I did it!”

I like to think I make a difference in the world, even if it is to only one person. Yet, I remind myself that my “work” is not so important that things would “stop”, or someone would “suffer something” without me. When I remember, I silently say “So Hum”. I am this. “This” is simply what is. It’s not about importance or unimportance. It’s not about being of value or not. It is simply about being and doing. Of focusing on the qualities of compassion and patience and of being “this”.

When I soak in the first rays of the morning sun, feel the warmth wake my body and take those inbreath, I am “this”. It fills me with something unspeakable, extraordinary. It is a recharging of something deeply internal and personal. It is a rebirth every day.

I am so grateful for the east facing window in my bedroom. For the sky that lights up each morning, filled with color and beauty. A sky that cradles the sun and beckons me to take a long slow inbreath and to be “this”.