This winter was a challenge here on the East Coast. I found myself getting angry and frustrated quite easily. Once Spring came, my mood lightened and I had very high expectations for a glorious, warm, sunny season. Unfortunately, for the last 6 weeks or so, that had not been the case.
Finally, there was a warm weekend day and I decided to go for a run. As soon as I started down the hill from my house, the sky opened up and began to rain. I kept running, after reminding myself I wouldn’t melt, but Mother Nature had other plans. The thunder and lightning came in with force and I grudgingly surrendered to her and began to head back up the large hill I had just ran down.
Again, I found myself getting angry and frustrated, but just at that moment a friend was driving by and pulled over to ask if my soaking wet self needed a ride home. After I declined and kept up the hill, two more friends stopped and asked the same. I realized that every place has its limitations but there were some great things about this place too. True happiness comes from “Blooming where you are Planted”… this great Spring metaphor became my inspiration for last weeks classes.
“Blooming where we were Planted” on our mats is what we practiced. The Sun Salutations helped us establish where we were planted that day in our bodies; it was our opportunity to set up the foundation for our practice, by warming up the body and quieting the mind. The repetitive nature also allowed us to connect to the breath and begin the Blooming process.
We challenged ourselves throughout the practice to establish roots and bloom from there, whether binding in Parsvokonasasna while keeping the heart lifted or exploring Revolved Dancer’s Pose….there was always the opportunity to Bloom.
We used the breath to guide us as to whether we were enduring or truly blooming in each pose. Just like flowers and trees need oxygen to grow, On our mats, we need to breathe our intentional breathe and connect it to the movement in order for the body and the mind to flourish and bloom.
I asked my students to ground strongly into their standing leg as they crafted tree pose (Vrksasana). Then, once we established where we were planted, we lifted the arms to sprout our branches. We then moved the arms slowly from side to side to allow the branches to “blow in the breeze”, to truly “Bloom where we were Planted”.
Off the mat, the opportunity also exists to “Bloom where we are Planted”. In the mind, we bloom when we let go of judgment and expectation. We all have seen plants and trees that grow under the most unlikely or unfavorable conditions; perhaps the flowers that sprout up through concrete or trees that grow in between high-rise buildings. Those flowers and trees have a lesson to teach. There is always the opportunity to bloom wherever we are planted; even if the growing conditions are not ideal.
As we slowed our practice by rolling from our bellies onto our backs, I again reminded my students that the opportunity was there to “Bloom where they were planted” off the mat as well as on.
As humans, we spend so much time agonizing over and trying to fix what may not be going perfectly right in our lives….trying to create the ideal growing conditions. For Savasana, I asked them to instead focus on something that is going really amazingly, wonderfully, right in their lives; something that Is Blooming as opposed to what is not.
As I watched them settle into their rest, I let go of the anger and frustration at Mother Nature. I then began to feel Gratitude. Gratitude for the strong roots that I have grown and gratitude for the gift my family and I have to “Bloom where we are Planted” no matter what the growing conditions. Namaste.