Just like spring, this newsletter is a little late this month!
It won't be long before the dirty dregs of snow have melted, the street cleaners have passed through town, and the first blossoms and buds of spring begin to appear (that is, after old man winter has his last hurrah). Spring is such a fresh and refreshing time of year. We delight in flinging open the windows and letting the staleness of winter escape as the scents of spring enliven our senses.
The word "fresh" brings to mind fields of cut grass, clean sheets drying on the line in a gentle breeze, rows of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables at the farmer's market... In India, I discovered, "fresh" is also a way of being.
When I worked at the Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandarim in India, doing yoga therapy internships, I was often asked if I was feeling "fresh." At first I thought that my colleagues were overly concerned with the state of my personal hygiene. Or perhaps they were wondering if I was being sassy with them. Neither seemed likely.
As I spent more time, and got used to the idiosyncracies of our shared English tongue, I realized they were asking if I was feeling good, awake, aware. Their version of "how's it goin?" Feeling fresh was not so much about going home at lunch to shower on a day when it was 100 degrees and 100 percent humidity, as much as it was about an inner freshness (though that lunchtime shower and nap sure left me feeling very refreshed). Inner freshness is about being present, mindful, alive, awake and ready to face the challenges and triumphs of the day. At least that's what I understood about the question, and how I answered it.
Just like everyone else, sometimes I feel "fresh" (present, mindful, alive, awake and ready to face the challenges and triumphs of the day) and sometimes I don't. But there is one time when I always feel fresh, and that's when I'm teaching yoga (or doing Thai Yoga Massage). At that time, I am doing what I love, and others are depending on me to guide them in a safe and respectful manner. I can't afford to be thinking about other things. Riding a horse, or anything that requires your full attention, is much the same.
I believe (and studies have shown) that "freshness" of being is contagious. When we're mindful, we unconsciously invite others to also be mindful. When we're scattered and anxious, it's easy for others around us to also adopt those feelings, and vice versa. This all happens without our permission, or even our awareness most of the time.
As we move into spring, take the time to breathe in the fresh air around you. Open the windows of your house and your heart and take it all in. Bring that freshness into each moment and each interaction with others. Carry it with you and enjoy the kind of vibrancy, aliveness and energy that you feel when you do. Engage as much as possible in things that you love to do, and if it involves others who can help you to maintain that freshness, even better.