Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sacred Morning

This morning, Alexis and I set our alarm for 5:45 am to be up in time for our first 6:30 am February Morning Meditation at Southtown Yoga.  To my surprise, I woke up excited.  I went down to the studio about 30 minutes before to turn up the heat and on my (very short) walk to the studio, it dawned on me... this felt like the start of a ritual.  A ritual that I really like.  The birds were chirping as the sun was starting to light the sky.  The air was crisp.  When I walked into the studio, Kiley was already there, prepping for the 6:30 am yogahour class.  Something about the fact that we went to the studio to meditate, rather than sitting in our usual spot at home, felt more sacred.

It was at that point that I was reminded, for me, the studio is more than a place to practice and teach.  In the wee hours of the morning, it felt more like a temple than a place people do asana.  The soft dim light, the candles, the energy... it all felt different.  I think the fact that Alexis was the head visionary for this new space makes the end product feel so sacred.  He and Ivan Hill put so much love and sweat into the renovation, just so we all have such a nice place to practice yoga. Now that we have students and teachers filing our space daily, the hard work that went into the creation of this new studio is highly appreciated.  Alexis and Ivan built our space and the people who practice at STY brought the studio to life.  Its an amazing feeling.

Early mornings at the studio remind me of when we visited an ashram in AZ and started the day with chanting at 4am.  Or when I was in Varanasi, India, and we woke up at sunrise to float down The Ganga.  There were people everywhere doing their morning rituals in the river.  Making offerings to the sun. I realize that we aren't an ashram or a very holy city in India. But as Douglas talked about a few weeks ago, what makes something sacred is the relationship you have to it.  Even more so than the actual place or thing being sacred by itself. For example, our new studio was an empty, dilapidated building when we got our hands on it.  Its still the same building we started with, only different.  Not only has the physical structure changed a lot, my relationship to it instantly changed when we opened our doors to the public on Nov. 17th.  My relationship to this studio is growing every day to be more sacred, holy, of utmost importance.  It is way more than what meets the eye.  Its where I laugh, cry, pray, love, practice, create and nurture friendships, etc.  Moral of the story, 1905 Park went from being just another building in Lafayette Square to something sacred. First thing in the morning today, for whatever reason, this was more apparent than ever to me.

This morning meditation is special to us because its our regular morning practice, open to the public. Sharing the practice of yoga and my own experience of it is as rewarding as it is challenging. Alexis is very disciplined about sitting every day, but I tend to find reasons to skip morning meditation.  Like, I have an early meeting, or I need to shower, or I slept in later than I thought and now I don't have time.  The list goes on and on. Putting this on the public schedule requires us to show up.  It holds me accountable in a very public way. And, since I love being at the studio and in good company, meditating at Southtown Yoga is a huge incentive.  Plus, its a donation-based practice.  All proceeds go to a local charity.  So its a way to give to others as we give to ourselves with the gift of meditation.

Needless to say, I am very excited about this new ritual. Daily meditation practice has proven to be very powerful, in my experience.  When I stick to it, the benefits are sky high.  I hope many of you can join us.  And if not, Alexis and I will be in there on our own.  No matter what.  Every weekday in February at 6:30 am.

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