Here they come! The merganser ducks, dashing around playfully, their energy creating random patterns in the water. They race across the water and, skimming around in circles, make their way south. In a few hours, they will speed back north. They make me smile each time. This is the eighth summer I have spent on Mooselookmeguntic Lake (‘Mooselook’) . In the western mountains of Maine, it is 19 miles long and, at its widest, 5 miles wide, the fourth largest lake in Maine.
Each morning my first yoga practice is simply looking at Mooselook, taking it in. Its vastness and powerful beauty help me to open, to pause, notice and become sensitive to the happenings on the lake as well as inside myself. The lake changes from moment to moment and, as the weather moves across it, it can change entirely in color, texture and movement in just minutes. It is clear that the patterns of light, movement and weather on the lake are not in my control. I can only open to what it is there, drink it in and celebrate its beauty.
For me, the first principle of Anusara yoga—open to grace–has been challenging to incorporate into my practice and into my life. For a long time, in my asana practice as in my life, I have wanted to move, to engage, align, expand and enjoy each pose. Learning to soften first, breathe and to open has not come naturally. Now, more consistent in my practice, that pause before I move, the awareness that I am part of something bigger, and those breaths that bring me to my deeper self change the very fabric of my experience. And, here in Maine, the lake does not let me forget.