The heatwave continues in the UK. I love it. The warmth brings me alive. I have more energy, my body is more open. The days are lighter for longer and I am filling them. Also in this weather, I don’t feel guilty for taking a siesta in the afternoon when I get home from work! The Protestant work ethic doesn’t seem to apply in such Mediterranean weather 🙂 .
Home practice is consequently pretty hot and sweaty. I’m deliberately trying to explore the openness available in my body, move a little deeper, find the potential of stretch rather than holding in a tight place of security. The warmth helps with this, without the obnoxiousness of going to a Hot Yoga class. I’m enjoying this exploration, it’s mostly feeling like a bold and bright thing to do. But you know those hips… they don’t lie, so they say. So interspersing the jubilant “I didn’t know my body did that” revelations, there are also moments of sobbing paralysis, where a tide of undefinable emotion rushes up and over me, engulfing me so suddenly all I can do is gasp and try to cling on, floundering on my mat like a little fish washed up on an unusually large wave.
After practice an enjoyable afternoon messing about in boats. We rowed up the river in the company of one my oldest friends. I know this stretch of river intimately; I walk it daily until the short dark days of winter make the footpath inadvisable for a single woman or the floodwaters make it literally impassable. But the view from the water gives a whole new perspective and I was mesmerised by the sights we passed. We nosed our way under weeping willows, spotted grey herons fishing from the banks, sculled gently through rafts of geese, the goslings almost fully grown now but still making cute juvenile peeping noises instead of the full adult honking.
When we were tired of taking turns at the oars we found a place to moor. I swam in the cool water, pushing out through the water weed, my toes treading into the gravel riverbed. The geese and swans hissed at me if I got too close. This too was a place of exploration for me, trusting myself to the water even though I was too tired to do much more than turn a few lazy circles. As I splashed about I thought a little about gravity and floating, about what holds me up or keeps me down, about buoyancy and bandhas. About what I hold onto to and what I might let go.
Now in the evening I’m dog tired, a little sunburnt, stinging scratches on my arms and legs from close encounters with some briars — and I haven’t properly prepared this week’s teaching. It’ll need to be an early morning tomorrow to finish prepping my classes before office hours. But my various explorations today on the mat and in the water, and the warmth of the sun and of my friend’s sweet company, will enrich my week and colour the way I move through the coming days. I think the weather is set fair.