I have done a week's worth of sun salutations toward my goal of four a day for an entire year. The trepidation about being able to add this to my daily routine and sustain it has evaporated. It has quickly become a beautiful way to start my day.
I have an old 2012 Audrey Hepburn calendar that I am using to jot brief notes about each day's practice. I'm keeping track of the progress toward straight legs in my forward bends, the level of pain I feel in said forward bends, as well as the state of my chatarangas (the pose lowering my body in plank to the floor.) So far I haven't had to do the modified chataranga using bent legs, which means my upper body strength is building.
The surprise of this practice is that on day 5 my daughter joined me on my spare mat, and has done the four sun salutations with me daily ever since. It's a humbling, joyful experience having her join me. She takes it seriously and does her best to do the poses properly. A few days in, she asked for me to follow HER lead, and bless her heart, she did it.
One of the added features of her joining me is her chatter. Here's a sampling of the things that she's talked about as I breathe and salute the sun:
* She cried when she learned that one morning I'd done my practice without her. I agreed to do two suns with her (bringing MY total to six for that day) and afterward she said, “Wake me up tomorrow.”
* When I asked her why she liked doing yoga with me she said: “It's relaxing and I like the moves...Typically, everything about yoga is cool.” (Editorial: I LOVE when she uses the word typically.)
* “Is Santa real?”
* “Do they grade you in class?”
* “Do they call your butt in class butt or bottom?” When I told her they call it your seat, she exclaimed, “Your seat??? Why your seat???”
There's a quote (source unknown) that beautifully encapsulates this part of my practice with my daughter: “Peace – it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” My practice is enhanced each time I can keep breathing, answer her questions quietly, remain calm, and continue without flashes of frustration.
It is really wonderful to share these quiet moments with her every morning. I have no idea what seeds are being planted as we move and breathe side-by-side. This girl has bottomless sources of energy, which often drain me. I like thinking that these sun salutations might become a lifetime source of peace and calm for her too.
I continue to repeat my word-of-the-year GENTLE to myself as my forward folds are still painful and not what I want them to be. As I say the word to myself, I really can tell that my legs are getting straighter. The accomplishment wouldn't be so sweet if it came so quickly, so I am relishing the day-by-day nature of this practice.
I have 51 weeks to go before I can cross #7 off my bucket list. I am enjoying every minute of it. Namaste.