Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Often when I start my yoga classes I will invite the students to close their eyes and tune into their breathing. Without changing, or trying to fix their breath in any way, I just encourage them to be aware of their “breathing body.” I guide them to pay attention to the start, middle and end of the inhale and the same for the exhale. Sometimes I invite them to just pay attention to the very start of the inhale. Other times we follow the exhale to the very end and notice how the inhale just comes out of the beautiful exhale. All of these little exercises teach the student to become present to their breath and there are benefits to that. When their mind is focused on the breath it isn’t thinking about other things in their life and this practice is also teaching the student how to sustain their attention on 1 thing for a period of time. This can be really helpful in a world where are there so many distractions. Learning how to sustain our attention can contribute towards a sense of ease and well being. Once the students are aware of their breath I encourage them to notice how their body moves and expands and contracts with each inhale and exhale. Our bodies know how to breathe and we are simply watching it. I often say “notice how your body pulses like the stars in the evening sky. Stars expand and contract and so do our bodies.” It’s an image that I love. I love imagining myself twinkling and shining and expanding like a star. I am fascinated by the evening sky: the moon, the stars and the comets. It’s a really beautiful place to pay attention to.
For the next couple of weeks I’ll be focused on the upcoming Perseid meteor shower that happens every year generally between July 17 and August 24. The Perseids have often been called the best star show of the summer and this year it is supposed to be even more spectacular thanks to an unusual outburst that only happens once every decade. The Perseids are going to peak this year around August 11th and 12th and it is expected that there will be double the number of meteors than usual. Dark sky’s are key to seeing these meteors and so of all us in the Highlands are in the perfect location for viewing. “On a typical year, if skies are dark and clear, you may see a meteor every minute to every 30 seconds during the peak” , says Peter Brown, a professor with the Meteor Physics Group at Western University in London, Ont. "And a lot of those meteors will be pretty bright." This year, he says, "the rates could be up to a couple every minute, maybe even three a minute" if you're camping or at the cottage, away from city lights.
The Perseids will be visible on nights leading up to the 11 and 12th so you don’t have to wait to get outside and start looking.