Saturday, April 12, 2014

Communal beyond time and space

Camp Lipizzan is a writer's camp. Writers and their friends come out to the desert to hang with plants and critters wild and tame (mostly) and polish up their writing with the assistance of their hostess, author and keeper of the Dancing Desert Horses, Judith Tarr.

In true camp fashion, it's not just about the main activity of writing. There are, after all, horses to feed, sunrises and sunsets to soak in, strolls in the desert, the chance to take a balancing riding lesson with my friend Stacey Kollman, and the opportunity to yoga play with the herd.

I am blessed to be the one who gets to integrate the language of the herd with our human language, the yoga teacher. Sure, we practice our tadasana (mountain pose), we practice our chakra power walk, we practice our breathing, and being with our breath as we are with the herd. The horses expect nothing less from me, and sometimes require a little more. It all depends on who is showing up, and how.

Yesterday's class was a little bit different. (If I am honest, I would say that about each and every time we meet with the horses in this way).  Judith had a fresh injury, clearly painful, but Judith is one in whom the warrior blood runs ancient and deep. So, although she was more than prepared to stuff the pain and carry on, as her yoga teacher, I wanted her to consider a different way for the day. It was Ro, her young dog, who suggested the modification; a place to rest, grounding deeply, his leash under her foot to support his own practice of self-management around horse energy, and outside the fenced paddock area where we do our practice.

We circled up, outside the paddock, Khephera on the other side of the boundary presenting his bum for scratching (a sure sign that Summer Is Coming). Most of the horses circled in. Even Little Zeus, who typically opts out, contributed his energy. The one who was keeping his energy under the radar was the Pooka, the stallion. Now that was different.

We enter. The horses can be almost devilishly entrancing, but I round up the humans anyway, remind them of the 3 Rules: Breathe, Eyes Open, Don't Lock Your Knees.  We ground, we walk, we connect deeply into our sacrum, our sacred bone heart, and we feel our feet. You might be surprised at how tightly we contain the prana, the energy, of our feet. And when we are around horses milling around, we can have a tendency to draw that energy more inward, (because, yes, it does hurt mightily should that foot get stepped on).

I look back to Judith and Ro. They are deeply connected to all of our actions, observing keenly, the energy of, dare I call it love? palpable, pulsing. Truly, I did not have to look, because I could feel it. The Pooka is still maintaining his lower energetic profile, and I realize then that it isn't less or hidden at all, he has drawn to that place of deep subtlety, where a loud stallion voice would interfere, would break the spell.

I could go on, and on, and on. I'll stop here for now. Words, even at Camp Lipizzan, where words are the very coin of the realm, words can only convey what words can convey.  But those words continue to journey into those deep and subtle places, find nourishment in community with one another, reveal themselves later through story, song, and poem.

Om shanti