Ok, I’ll admit it, I made up the phrase “snow namaskar.” I promise to get back to what it means since you will likely not be able to google it or find it in any yoga book.
I am sitting in my cozy house watching snow fall outside and hearing my lovely plow guy, Sean clearing our driveway. We have gotten about 10″ so far and it is still coming down like crazy. To say I am ecstatic about the snow is frankly a major understatement. Snow, those who know me are painfully aware of this truth, is one of my favorite things in the whole world. I love the way it feels. I love the way it smells. I love the way it looks. I love how it makes your cheeks rosy. I love how it glistens. I love how it slows everything down and makes you stay put for a while. I love how it brings the light.
Two years ago in Connecticut where I am we got more snow than we could handle. The piles in my driveway were over 5′ (yes feet!) high in the shortest places. After each 20″ snowfall that cancelled classes for me and my elves, the yogis in my classes would ask “are you happy now?” They were being ironic, but I was indeed thrilled. Even when there is 4+’ of it, snow makes everything look fresh. There is a layer of brightness that changes how trees, and roads and even my furry elf’s fur looks. Everything is new and sparkling and filled with light.
Many of my students are loyal and come to my classes week after week. I am so thankful they trust me with their time and their space, and even more with their practices. Maybe one of the reasons why they allow me to do so is because I never teach the same class twice. I want them to look at their yoga like I look at surroundings after a fresh snow. I want them to have fresh perspective, new flows and different ways to approach their practice. I want Pigeon pose to be a hip opener, a playful expression of a backbend, an acceptance of their body’s structure, an emotional release and a step to some next place. But not all in the same class.
My yoga practice is just like a snow storm: wild and epic, quiet and still and sparkling new every time I get to the mat. I love that the same pose I did the day before shows me fresh spaces for light. Even on the darkest of my days there is something novel and bright to be found.
For my students who hate the snow I say, I’ll love it for you while it is here and do not worry it will go away soon. Yet if you feel adventurous and ready to experience the wonder I find in this frozen landscape here is a quick flow you can do with heavy Sorel boots, snow pants, bulky coats and all the accouterments that will keep you warm. If I can get them to agree I will try to do a mini video of this sequence tomorrow filmed by my elves. I call it “Snow Namaskar” and it is perfect for getting your legs moving and warming up your upper body for snowball fights, snowman making and lifting warm mugs of cocoa.
Start in Tadasana with hands in Anjali Mudra
Step wide into 5 pointed Star
Palms facing front: Arjuna Pulling his bow (Warrior 11 legs with your back hand coming forward on exhale and pulling your “bow” back on inhale) 5 times
Warrior 11 to the other side
Arjuna Pulling his bow 5 x to the other side
5 pointed star
Repeat as many times as you like with as long of holdings as feels right. Feel spacious. Feel connected. Feel moving. Feel the light.
I took out my phone to take pictures of the sparkling snow that was falling from the sky tonight in the dark. Instead of an image of a white wonderland I found this picture of hearts created by the flash and the snow.
I had captured my love of the light. I captured the brightness and joy.
I captured snow.