Four years ago, I spent about a week in New Mexico on the land of a Navajo farmer, educator, and healer. I landed in this Four Corners Region with 12 others on a Fall Break mission trip of sorts. Our mornings there were spent with a daily sunrise ceremony. We would awake to the cold, crisp October morning seeping into our sleeping bags that lay on the adobe earth floor of the Hogan where we slept, and we would rise to the sounds of a drum and the voice of song that was preparing the way for sunrise. Wrapped in blankets, we would gather outside under a expansive, clear sky and acknowledge all of the directions – South, West, North, and East. The beat of the drum and the rhythm of song ultimately landing us facing East, in the direction of the sunrise, 360° of prayer. We would take a salt offering in our hand and face the pen, uninhibited rising sun. The sun streaming strong and fierce in our faces, flooding us with light. As we made our personal prayer of reciprocity to the earth each morning, I wondered “why choose to wake up in any other way than this?” How connected and full and intentional and sparkling I was for that week of being a participant in the sun rising. And why I’ve continued to hold mornings sacred for this very reason ever since: Connection to source. My experiences with those morning ceremonies changed and enlivened me as an individual.
For the last 18 weeks, Yoga at Raleigh City Farm is how now as a yoga teacher and continued practitioner, I wanted to bring that very experience alive – in my own way, for my community. Get up and out of bed, move and breath, together, our faces in the face of the sun. Plant ourselves on fertile ground, in the midst of a booming city and life around us – all the sounds and sensations. Take Saturday morning and make it holy. Face the sun, look up at the sky, and acknowledge the body and the breath in a space that was built by the community, for the community. Sacred space.
I’m grateful to Raleigh City Farm, especially Rebekah, for hearing out a yogi’s dream and trusting me with the special space that is the farm. I am so thankful for all of the time, effort and support that went into allowing Yoga to take root at RCF! I am humbled by the downtown raleigh yogis who dubbed themselves the weekend warriors and showed up with mats and towels, and smiles and sweat, and not a single clue what they were in for. Yoga was mentioned, and they were in. Thank you to each and every one of you from day one who shared Saturday space on the farm! To all of the sights and sounds, the bugs and humidity, the distractions, calamites, and the sweetness of grassy feet – I am grateful for such awesome Summer & Fall yoga seasons!
Enjoy these cooler months. Wake up on crisp Saturdays, make yourself a warm cup of something, and take a moment to face East – simile at the sun – and breath in all the light that is rightly yours. See you in the Spring, yogis!