The Berkshires, MA

Morning mist covers a pond at rest. I pause along the sandy shores. Heavy stillness hangs in the air. The sand under my feet is cold. A chill nips each toe and disappointingly I put my socks and shoes back on. It’s not the place for yoga this morning. I get back in the car and turn the heat up full blast. The road is winding and eventually opens into a valley hugged between two large humps of land that do not fit the description of either mountains or hills. The leaves are already starting to change color. They dot the horizon with pops of red, yellow, and orange. I pull over a shallow parking lot behind a sign that reads, “Fountain Pond State Park.” This could be the place. With mat in hand I take a trail and break the morning silence; leaves crunch under each step and my breath begins to labor against the chill. A car passes occasionally and the velocity is carried through sound waves that find a place to rest amongst the trees. I see a level space near the water. It’s covered in patches of moss but the ground is soft.

I lay my mat down and take off my shoes and socks. I sit in a comfortable cross-legged position and start to breathe. My toes go cold again and I finish the breath with an, OM. The silence breaks and returns like the tide. I stand and press my feet into the earth, Tadasana. I raise my arms over my head and lean back pushing my hips forward and lifting my chest to begin Surya Namaskar. I flow through sun salutations until my feet can no longer handle the cold. I sit again and sink my sit bones towards the ground.

My feet are now slightly blue feet and I fit them into the backs of my knees and start pranayama. If the mind controls the body and the breath controls the mind, then I should try and breathe this cold away. I inhale, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and exhale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. The pranayama shifts my focus away from my cold limbs. I repeat until my mind clears and the moment presents itself. It only lasts a few seconds. The moment escapes and my thoughts come back to the cold, to the impatience, to the monkey mind. I take a few more breaths to end in focus and end with a final, OM. The silence breaks and returns again. I gather my mat and take the trail back to the car.