November 20, 2013

Yoga, Moons & Mothers. ~ Anne Samit

“Dancing in the moonlight; everybody feeling warm and right. It’s such a fine and natural sight; everybody’s dancing in the moonlight.”

~ King Harvest

In many cultures, the moon is tied to motherhood.

It is a constant, always there even if it can’t be seen. The pull of the moon is strong, rocking the ocean’s tides in a timeless lullaby. Its light illuminates the darkness, no matter its shape or size.

I’m a mother, and I’ve got the moon in my chart. I’ve had two astrological readings, one by an Aryuvedic astrologer, and one by a Kabbalistic astrologer. And both speak of the strong presence of the moon, residing in some place with some sort of explanation, most of which comes down to the fact that mothering is big for me, and it’s prominently in the house!

For many years, I’ve joked with my children about what I call the Long Arm of Mommy. It reaches through all the space and time in which they’ve grown, all the way to the independent young man and woman each is.

It’s the part of me that’s in them.

It’s how they connect to me without having lived home in almost eight years. They are both several years out of college, living on their own and making their own decisions. Yet, we are all connected, so much so that when one calls, I sometimes answer with the phrase, “Get outta my head!” because we are so often in each others’.

Is it any wonder I’ve felt the pull of the moon all my life? That texts often fly around the family when the moon is full?

See the moon? reads many a text from one city to the next. Look up! 

The other night at yoga, the instructor spoke of the moon and tied it to what he calls the Divine Mother. He says it’s the brightness that’s in all of us; that we all carry the light of the moon simply by virtue of being ourselves. It’s automatically inside even though it’s ever-changing.

Last night the moon was full, he announced. Today, we are one day past and already the moon looks different. There’s a bit of darkness in the corner. 

Sometimes, I’ve felt this darkness. There’s a pull toward it when I’m not feeling strong.

So I go to yoga to build my strength, to keep myself feeling bolstered, doing my best to make some muscles in my arms and my legs and my core and also in my heart and my mind and my spirit.

And for the first time in a long time, I’ve been dragging. It’s like my strength is waning as if I’m the moon that’s no longer full. Something’s making me tired, and I wonder if it’s the time change or the cold weather or the dark evenings.

Even so, I’ve been keeping to my schedule, working and practicing, but the bed’s been calling this Divine Mother every chance it gets. Before and after a practice, I’m catching a snooze. I haven’t had much appetite, and I’ve had to be very conscious of getting in the calories. It literally feels like I’m fading.

I arrived at yoga the other morning bright and early. Practicing mostly at night, the early morning practice seemed doubly early.

There, I pulled back my hair and looked up at the mirror. All I could see were my face and my shoulders, but who I saw looking back seemed suddenly so small. I was never big, but with my hair away from my face, I seemed to me so frail; my muscles in my shoulders seemed to have disappeared in a moment’s time.

I stepped away from the mirror and onto the mat, feeling frantically far from whatever mothering light was supposed to be shining inside.

It was very hot yoga, and I realized I had barely eaten the night before and had found it too early to eat that morning. I was on my mat, all too aware of my low reserves, depleted before I had even started.

That morning, it was me who was in need of the long arm of a mother!

I finished the practice, doing two stints in Child’s Pose, unusual for me, and one errand to the front desk for a sugar shot of flavored coconut water, also unusual for me.

I got myself home, showered, dressed and started down the steps to leave for my day. Halfway down the staircase, my tired bones told me to U-turn, and I listened.

Hair and makeup done, I never made it out of the house, intending on a 20 minute nap but instead waking up with my face in the pillow two and a half hours later.

The next day, I was back out and about, practicing again and trying to eat everything I could. I was trying my best to fortify what I had seen as that frail reflection.

And it was the day after that when I landed in the class with the teacher talking about the moon, about the internal mother that’s inside each of us.

We never stopped moving for an hour and 15 minutes, with instructions to lift this and that, to reach here and there, first in one direction and then in the other. We were asked to add a little something of our own to each movement and then, surprisingly, told to toss aside our mats.

I think he wanted us to flow freely with no boundaries in order to tap into the “mother” inside, that strong and ever-present brightness that’s there regardless of how tired we are or how we look in the mirror with our bangs pinned back.

When we finished, we came down to the floor, many seated moons of all shapes and sizes, illuminating the room with hands to forehead center.

Remember, the instructor said, the light that is the Mother. She is you! 

With his words still echoing, I got myself home and looked to the mirror again. Miraculously, my shoulder muscles had seemingly reappeared in a moment’s time. And that night, I slept better than I had in forever, having finally been tucked in by the long arm that was my very own.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

{Photo: Flickr.}

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