Illustration: The Magazine of Yoga. Detail of photo by PICQ.
Poet in residence
BY MAGAZINE COLUMNIST CARYN MIRRIAM-GOLDBERG
The chest faces south, the front knee leads east, and the arms reach
toward both coasts at once. The sinewy iron of the back leg diagonals
down to the willing floor. Wing span, sea legs, sturdy paws, lightning
– I will myself open as my breath rides the empty highway.
Sometimes only the ragged urge to fall wins, and I forget
I’m the granddaughter of a young girl who sang her way home
through the winter woods of Poland, her voice rough,
catching the sheen of black trunks when no one is looking.
The forgotten blue heron of the chest longs to rise from these waters
where nothing lives worth feeding on. The back edge of a thunderhead
surges toward me, sucking the air out of the room, all the trembling
limbs, stupid-drunk with trying, can’t remember their roots.
The other grandmother raced fear across this continent
as she tried to make herself small enough to survive on the crumbs
of what matters. Both women died out of their minds, broken
warriors who nevertheless would do any of it again so I could live.
The war is over, the dead are long dead, and even the ones who
mourned are gone, so why find this strength? I tell the buried
grandmothers, the grandmother I will become out of their heartwood,
to reach our old arms as wide as the canyons of loss, and breathe.
Reprinted with permission of the author
from Landed (Mammoth Publications, 2009).
There are many times and reasons to be a warrior in this life — when we’re embarking upon a new vocation and avocation, finding our true calling, and standing up for what’s right, who we love, and what we care about most in the world.
Yet it can be hard to stop being a warrior at times — especially when the weight of the sword and shield gets heavy and we can’t turn it off. Warrior poses gives us a place to practice being a warrior, and in doing so, help us funnel our warrior energy into our health and joy of the moment so that we can also rest in peace more deeply. Try this:
Make a list of all you’ve had to fight for, stand up for and protect in your life.
Pause and stand in Warrior II or I or III or whatever warrior variation calls to you.
Come back to your list, and pluck one event off to write about in larger terms: what happened, what you did, and what you learned from this experience.
You can also take something from the list and write about it in relation to your ancestors and family members who have had to do much to protect family and the generations to come.
Beginning a writing practice? Getting started, groundrules to free you, and podcasts of other writing prompts. Visit Caryn’s Write From Your Life page (http://carynmirriamgoldberg.wordpress.com/write-from-your-life/)
We may publish any content, comments or ideas sent to us.
Name may be withheld by request.
© 2011, The Magazine of Yoga, LLC.