One of my spiritual teachers recently spoke of how summer is a time when the Will of nature can be most readily felt.  I’m sure we all can attest to this. Stand on the edge of any field in the vast Alberta prairies right now and you bear witness to ripe, burgeoning harvest.  Spend three minutes in your back yard and be serenaded by a robust symphony of bird song emating from trees bursting with life.  Watch the movement of any city whir in it’s summertime play – parks and ball diamonds a buzz of activitiy while chidren and motorcycles bellow their freedom songs.But, leaves are turning now, one by one as if counting the moments to Autumn in an ominous “tick tock” rhythm.  I feel that familiar melancholy beginning to descend as the robust aliveness of summer begins to wane.  Last year I wrote “The Dying Season” as a way to articulate this experience of loss and to honour the natural waxing and waning that happens in nature.  This year, after listening to my teacher’s words, I wonder if we can learn from the last days of summer’s vivacity and find that deep Will to Life within ourselves.

It is important, I think, to integrate robust practices into our spirituality.  Yoga can be wonderful for relaxation, finding spaciousness and cultivating deep inner silence – and it can also kick up the effervescent Will of Nature in our very cells!  But, a vigorous practice doesn’t mean a work out.  If yoga becomes a work out, we often get caught in trying to attain goals, measuring our “success” and competing with ourselves.  A vigorous practice with the intention of experiencing our inner Will to Life means accepting however that Will expresses itself.  I means turning up the the volume of sensation in the body and listening for the Summer in our very bones.  It means tuning into the heaving breath in difficult poses and celebrating our very ability to breathe at all.  It means finding energy and extension in every cell, across every line of our anatomy and feeling ourselves as truly alive.

I tell my students that I hope for them relaxation, suppleness and and presence.  But, I also hope for them to be robust 90 year olds someday because yoga has called up in them the vivacious excitement to journey with their arms wide open into the next unknown moment.  So, in the last days of patios, camping, bar-b-ques and sprinklers take note of the Summer’s feeling inside of you.  You know this Will because it is in you too,  may you call it forth, consciously, in all the days of your life.