Dare to die a yogic death every day

Posted on: November 4th, 2015 By:
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The autumn in Austin looks so different from the one I grew up with in the northeast.  The air grows cooler more slowly, the leaves turn colors more gently, and the robust sense of ripening that shimmers in the New England air before the bare season of winter doesn’t take over the senses in Texas.  The changes here are subtle, gentle; I have time to wonder where I last folded away my sweaters, to mark the earlier sunset but not go swiftly into hibernation.

Autumn asks us to dare to face death a bit, the trees shedding all their foliage in the face of a promised spring, the darkness increasing more every day while we trust that one day they will grow longer again.  We slowly ease our grasp on the saturation of summer and get ready to turn over a new calendar year.

Every yoga class, I dare myself to face death a bit, too, in a similar fashion to autumn. I ask myself what I might shed or discard in my breath, what I might dissolve on my mat.  And while in savasana, I dare myself to really let it be a corpse pose, to reset my life at zero, to allow a rebirth when I rise and close my practice.  It isn’t always major or hugely shifting, as not every autumn illuminates entirely the seasons before and to come.  But certainly a little death goes a long way in repetition, and I am grateful for the opportunity to keep being born into the new season of myself.

Like grief, autumn takes away some of what is most precious and beautiful. Sometimes I am asked to leave behind that which I most wanted to carry into the next season.  And still I dare to surrender.

Redemption Song
by Kevin Young 

Finally fall.
At last the mist,
heat’s haze, we woke
these past weeks with

has lifted. We find
ourselves chill, a briskness
we hug ourselves in.
Frost greying the ground.

Grief might be easy
if there wasn’t still
such beauty — would be far
simpler if the silver

maple didn’t thrust
it’s leaves into flame,
trusting that spring
will find it again.

All this might be easier if
there wasn’t a song
still lifting us above it,
if wind didn’t trouble

my mind like water.
I half expect to see you
fill the autumn air
like breath —

At night I sleep
on clenched fists.
Days I’m like the child
who on the playground

falls, crying
not so much from pain
as surprise.
I’m tired of tide

taking you away,
then back again —
what’s worse, the forgetting
or the thing

you can’t forget.
Neither yet —
last summer’s
choir of crickets

grown quiet

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