Moose, Yoga and Alaska!
This is the first of a series of blogs by yoga teachers on tour. Join them as they find inspiration to practice all over the world!
Seven years ago a friend invited me to his hometown of Haines in Southeast Alaska. I had never considered visiting Alaska and didn't give it much consideration; however, he didn't give up easily and started sending me pictures of the river and mountains that persuaded me to visit the little borough of Haines (pop. 2,400) for a week.
I fell in love with Haines at first sight and have returned every summer since. The people are friendly and generous and the natural beauty unparalleled. I started teaching a yoga class or two at the local community center that also houses the public radio and theater, and now have expanded into leading a full weekend workshop and evening kirtan. An incredible family (Beth MacCready and Greg Bigsby) who practice yoga and meditation host me at their unique 15-acre waterfront property where the river meets the ocean. I stay in a yurt, pictured above.
Eagles fly overhead, seals and whales swim by, an occasional moose or bear wander in, and snow-capped mountains rise out of water as far as the eye can see. It is here, by the sea in southeast Alaska that I have precious time to recharge my battery that gets worn down from living in an urban environment the rest of the year.
My month here is a time for me to remember the practice of slowing down, the importance of rest and the healing power of mother nature. My singing, mediation and asana practice have plenty of space to unfold in this unique natural setting.
I plan my workshop with nature as a theme: trees rooting down to grow up toward the sun. We practice rooting down into the earth with our feet and drawing energy up from the earth through the spine and out the crown of the head, allowing it to open and expand from the sky. We practiced this in Tadasana and through the standing poses. I gave the students a "home play" assignment to practice this extension as they stand and walk throughout the day. I invite you to join us in this practice as well!
Where do you go to recharge your battery? And what makes you feel connected to nature?
Sarana Miller is trained in the Iyengar and Forrest Yoga traditions and is currently studying the Sarah Powers style. A student of Jai Uttal, she teaches yoga and leads kirtan in San Francisco.