I had not read this poem, I thought, as I stumbled across a Mary Oliver poem last night. I would have remembered reading it before by the title. Mary Oliver has penned two of my favorite quotes...
"Are you living just a little and calling it a life?" and "Tell me, what do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
No, I hadn't seen this piece of writing before titled "First Yoga Lesson". It is a funny, but accurate, description of a first (or second or 200th) yoga class and a great reminder that what you do on the mat is perfect and all about what your body can do in that moment.
First Yoga Lesson by Mary Oliver
“Be a lotus in the pond,” she said, “opening
slowly, no single energy tugging
against another but peacefully,
I couldn’t even touch my toes.
“Feel your quadriceps stretching?” she asked.
Well, something was certainly stretching.
Standing impressively upright, she
raised one leg and placed it against
the other, then lifted her arms and
shook her hands like leaves. “Be a tree,” she said.
I lay on the floor, exhausted.
But to be a lotus in the pond
opening slowly, and very slowly rising--
that I could do.
How many times have u heard someone- or yourself- say I tried my best but my best wasn't good enough? Isn't it a relief to know your best is always the best on your yoga mat?
"Do not go to the garden of flowers!
O friend! go not there;
In your body is the garden of flowers.
Take your seat on the thousand petals of the
lotus, and there gaze on the infinite beauty.”
Kabir quotes (Indian Philosopher, 1398-1519)
The "garden of flowers" is not your repertoire of poses; the "garden of flowers" is the feeling you get in your heart when you are honoring yourself, your body and your spirit, on the mat.
Remember, as you bring your awareness back to your breath from svasana, "be a lotus in the pond opening slowly, and very slowly rising" because that you can do.