Raw, adjective: 6. ignorant, inexperienced, or untrained: a raw recruit.

Taught through my first earthquake last night. That was fun.

Talk about an experience in being present. All the big yoga clichés came to mind in that instant: finding steadiness and ease in moments of uncertainty, feeling the ground beneath us in very new ways, learning to lasso the mind — truly, to "yoke" it, as in "yuj," the roots of the word "yoga" — and bring it back to this breath, this body, instead of letting it run to all possible future realities.

(Ohmygod, what if there's another huge earthquake and the Bart shuts down and I'm stuck here in Oakland because the epicenter is just north of here in Berkeley and ohmygod then I wouldn't be able to get home and where would I stay and what about my things and I don't even have a pair of socks on me and what about my disaster survival kit that I haven't ever bothered creating and damn, if I just had a minute I'd do that right now but it's probably too late because here I am in the midst of earth-shaking Oakland trying to shepherd 20 people through the beginnings of Surya Namaskara A and look at the light fixtures and damn, how they'll swing if there's another aftershock, and wow, can you believe my music kept playing and the heater kept going and why does my body feel strangely seasick and oh shit, where were we again, oh yes, Down Dog, right leg in the sky, breathe, Child's Pose now, hmmm?)

There's your clip of that moment in my mind after the 3.8 aftershock jolted through at 8:16pm, just as we were building heat in the vinyasa. You learn to choose: to let your mind run away with hypothetical potential realities, or to watch your thoughts, and to come back to the breath, and slow down, and ground, and know that if you stay in that breath, step by step, inhalation by exhalation, you will get through whatever comes in the next one.

It was actually quite a remarkable exercise in meditation, and I am surprised by (and proud of) how the calm yogi in me was able to step into that moment and let it all be fine. It felt like a far stretch from the tornado-fearing prairie kid who'd crawl under the heavy wooden desk in the basement office with a jar of peanut butter and a weather radio at the first sight of a big black bank of clouds rolling across that great wide sky.

That simple contrast in selves, well, it speaks to the quite literal, quite down-to-earth power of this practice to transform. To very tangibly change us such that the way we choose to behave in situations of uncertainty, wherein the lack of control is oh-so-clear, shifts completely.

Now that's powerful.

(And on that note, skipping asana practice this morning to catch up on my lists and to get that article in on deadline. Just in case the Heyward Fault decides it's not quite done yet, I wanna make sure I'm caught up on my inbox, you know?)


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