By Larry Haag, March, 2020
Cherish, more than a word.
I cherish my existence on this planet and the life that this universe has bestowed upon me.
This wasn’t always my mantra.
In 2005, Susan, my wife, coaxed me into my first yoga class as a means for achieving some physical activity on a rain-soaked summer weekend in Sag Harbor having just blown my NYC marathon training with an injury. Ten rain-soaked vacation days later, I had completed an 18-hour self-created yoga immersion and felt renewed as I re-entered the everyday rat race of my then life. I felt great for about seventy-two hours until my back muscles went into spasm and I had nerve pain running down both arms. I sought refuge at the nearest yoga studio a Google search could find and self-medicated by “biting the hair of the downward dog that bit me”. A lesson to be learned, new muscles need to be properly trained.
The brain is a muscle too.
Over the ensuing years, I continued with my yoga journey and regular practice, referring to a need to take a class as “my time to get out of my head”. Whether the yoga class or instructor was steeped in Iyengar, Hatha, Ashtanga or a mixture of them all, my focus remained centered on exercising my brain to accept who and where I am from the perspective of life’s cosmic journey from birth to death. Each class becomes a metaphor for dealing with the daily struggles in life. Crowded studios, distraction of props, physical exertion to fleeting coordination, these are the mental obstacles and hurdles used as challenges to train my mind to find calm and clarity through internal focus. The class itself becomes the meditation, its energy a restorative force.
Perspective results from the pursuit.
My yoga journey has afforded me the necessary tools to see life’s horizon not blurred by the adversity laid bare at times and instead, cherish each sip of breath.
It is with much gratitude that I thank my instructors for their guidance and their studios for providing a home for my mat.
Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu…