Awaking to a cloudy, cold-looking day I decided to pull on all my gear for an early morning run. The nearby trail beckoned, which I had spotted during the previous day’s ski-bus-commute. Luckily the legs were not suffering too much from my beginner’s skiing style (not stylish), but the lungs were feeling the effects of the 7,000ft altitude. I followed the Millenium Trail, enjoying the punchy crunch of the fresh snow under foot, whilst trying to concentrate on the trail and keeping one eye on the stunning white vistas all at the same time.
Once home, showered and fed I looked up a local yoga studio. The first one that popped up was Park City Yoga Studio, and luckily I had time to catch the bus and arrive in time for their 12noon Yogahour. The studio is located on the edge of the main town area, but is easy to find even on foot. It was 5 minute walk from the nearest main line bus stop. Arriving at the studio I was greeted by a fellow student, and then the teacher. The studio was warm and cosy, on the ground floor of a shared building.
The class started with an introduction from the teacher, who was from an Anusara Yoga background. Referring to a personal experience, the teacher, T, read aloud from the Mary Oliver poem “The Uses of Sorrow”:
Someone I loved once gave me
a box full of darkness.
We were asked to use the words from the poem to inspire us, and to help us set an intention for the class that explored our own places of darkness. The class then proceeded with Sun Salutations to warm up, and then a series of postures including Warrior I, Extended side-angle pose, and Triangle. When it came to Pigeon Pose, the teacher gave a Buddhist reading, that used the metaphor of salt and water to explain the workings of the mind: a teaspoon of salt tastes bitter when dissolved in a small amount of water, but when we increase the amount of water, the salt doesn’t taste so bitter – we need to increase the pool of our mind to let all feelings in – then the salty-darkness won’t create feelings of bitterness.
At the end of the class, lying in savasana, the teacher made adjustments to my shoulder blades, asking first, ‘May I?’ I lay in relaxed bliss. The end of the Mary Oliver poem reads:
It took me years to understand
that this, too, was a gift.
Rave: Park City – running at altitude, yoga in warm studios – gifts aplenty.