Storing for later – for showering –
Plenteous, shining raindrops onto
The thirsty land below
Mine it is to imbibe
For those who came,
For those who shared
Her gift—Vanda’s gift—
Expansion, inner space, freedom
For those who from their “separate” lives came
Together, to re-Create
Beneath the vast dome of Sky
And the powerful presence of
I wrote this poem inside the back page of a book I had just purchased to read on the flight back home, after teaching a weekend yoga workshop in Salt Lake City, Utah, together with Darlene Bink. We teach an approach to yoga asana practice based on the insights and discoveries of Vanda Scaravelli. It is advanced in terms of the attention, attentiveness, and clear intention required of students. It also requires the ability to be self referent. In other words, it cannot be practiced on auto pilot or by listening for constant verbal cues from the teacher.
The title came literally as the plane ascended into the sunrise over the mountains east of Salt Lake City, and as soon as I had written the title, the rest of the poem flooded through me, together with profound gratitude for the openness of the students who attended our workshop. Only three students in attendance had any experience whatsoever in Vanda’s work; most had never heard of her or her work but instead were accustomed to practicing a very athletic, sweaty, fast paced style of yoga vinyasa or power yoga.
We constantly had to encourage them to slow down, to take time to observe their connections with the ground, the movements of their breath, spine and limbs, and the experience of inner space, expansion and freedom. They responded with acceptance rather than rebellion, which often manifests in such situations. They had questions and insights that I think even surprised the students themselves. They were willing to explore, to inquire, and to experience something very different from their usual practice, something non-competitive, something that was clearly out of their comfort zone. And that was the gift they gave to us.
© Carol Stall, 9-24-2007