We are preparing for our annual multi-family camping trip — a trek down to Garner State Park near Uvalde on the Frio River. This year marks our 10th annual journey (or is it 11th?) The trip includes anywhere from 5 – 8 families, depending on the year, and it has become a honored family tradition, deeply ingrained in our psyche. Like the sparrows return to Capistrano each Spring, we journey to the Frio every October.
Last year’s gathering came just a few short months after I began a regular yoga practice. One of my fondest memories of that trip involved a lengthy morning practice on the shores of the Frio. While I had attended many classes, I had never really tried to practice “on my own.” So without much to go on, I gathered my mat and iPod (Sophia’s Chakra Healing Chants), headed down to the banks and simply began to bend and breathe with the sound of the river gurgling in the background. Almost 3 hours later, I wrapped up my practice with a headstand and shoulderstand despite some very uneven terrain, pausing long enough to take a photo of my feet up in shoulderstand. (I’ll post that picture later.)
On our group hike later that day, we reached the top of the “summit” and stopped for more photos. The breathtaking view was not to be contained in silence, but celebrated with enthusiasm. With the splendor of nature around us, the girls laughed, the boys painted their faces with cactus dye, grown men challenged one another to feats of strength with rocks & races, and families clamored up on rock piles to pose for that potential Christmas card shot.
And then … Spontaneous Yoga Broke Out! Amidst the laughter and shenanigans, I kicked up in a handstand near the edge of the cliff, creating a cool photo effect, even if there was a ledge on the other side had I gone over. (Shhh, don’t tell my secret!) Personally, I think the hiking boots are a nice touch, no?
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Not to be outdone by his mother, Austin made an earnest attempt to follow in my footsteps … uh, make that …my HAND prints … as Brian looked on with fatherly pride (or perhaps amazement)!
Courtney’s moment followed. She gracefully stepped up and clasped her foot, moving into an elegant form of Natarajasana, Dancer’s Pose. Admiring “oo’s & ah’s!” were punctuated by the clicks a camera shutter. It was an unplanned “in the moment” moment, enhanced by the beauty around us.
As we prep for this year’s trip, I’m especially excited. With our son at college, it means a lot to me that he will make the time to join us. Similarly, most of the “regulars” are on board, and we welcome the return of old friends who are reestablishing their vital link to this core. Finally, this year’s presence of very dear “new” friends allows us to share our much-loved tradition with these special people. I cannot wait to gather.
I wade through a flurry of emails: what should we eat, what do we bring, what will we do along with the usual hikes & swims & potluck dinners? Packing my yoga mat, it comes to me: “I’ll offer to lead an organized class!” (So technically none of this crew is much for yoga; I can still relish the idea, people.) It would be so totally lovely to be in this setting sharing yoga with my children & friends.
Whether or not a class actually transpires, it’s all good. Truly, could there be anything more lovely than spontaneous yoga? Being present in the moment – here & everywhere – is really what it’s all about.
Yoga: a joining, a union; Garner: a yoga of families, a yoga of my family!
Namaste & Peace Out!