The Real Table Pose

As I cleaned an old pine table a few days before my 70th birthday, I began to understand something about yoga and growing older. This table has been in the kitchen for years, a surface for holding items just brought into the house or about to leave it. Now, as part of some big changes, it is to become the table where, on the porch overlooking the lake, we’ll eat most of our meals. Looking at it carefully for perhaps the first time, I decided to clean it and oil it before it was moved.

I dusted it, wiped it and then cleaned it many times, astonished at how much was removed with each wipe. A task I thought would take a few minutes of minimal effort turned into a sweat-producing challenge. With each effort, the natural patterns and colors of the table became more visible. When I finally decided I had done enough for now, the table didn’t look ‘like new.’ Rather it looked like itself, some of the blemishes removed, others even more apparent. Its natural beauty became clear.

And so it is with yoga. A consistent yoga practice invites us to delve deeply into ourselves. It requires serious effort that is not only physical, but also mental, emotional and spiritual. As we develop the strength, flexibility and spaciousness to be fully who we are, our natural beauty shines through.

Yogini with Table

So, if you ask me whether yoga will help you stay young, I’d say no. Definitely not! But it will help you be you. What could be more important?


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7 Responses to The Real Table Pose

  1. Sigrin Newell says:

    I wish you a belated Happy Birthday!

    Your blog reminded me of a favorite Grandma Moses quote.
    “Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.”

    These years just take a bit more daily polishing than was needed in the old days.



  2. Katie Shults says:

    Beautiful Karen. Really Nice!

  3. Josna says:

    Wishing you a belated Happy Birthday, Karen! I love this post. I need a little oiling and cleaning to restore the suppleness and bring out the glow of the old wood! x Josna

  4. Karen says:

    Lovely – the metaphor, the table, and you!

  5. Marsha says:

    The glow is manifest, both the table’s and yours. Thank you for such a beautiful image to start my day. And Happy Birthday + 1.

  6. Karen says:

    Thank you Sigrin, Katie, Josna, Karen and Marsha. It was great fun to create this metaphor, and, as some of you have shown, it’s fun to play with. More seriously, I do have problems with the message that yoga, or anything else for that matter, will keep us young. As if that is what we all wish, or should wish. As if that were possible.


  7. Stephanie Schamess says:

    Lovely post. Great metaphor and wise attitude about being oneself as a goal, rather than striving to be “forever young.”

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