Familiar Feelings

I am initially relaxed after morning yoga, but after three hours of mulching tarot plants, surrounded by Niko’s sweetness and Chloe and Georgia’s eager optimism, I am glowing with an unshakeable gladness. In the afternoon I head back to the familiar setting of the Kirpal Meditation and Eco Centre, where I lived for two weeks during yoga training. Joey is teaching his first yin yoga class and Todd is picking me up afterwards for our yoga playdate.

I set up my mat overlooking jungle lush in the yoga pavilion and am reminded again of all the laughter and tears that were experienced just about a week ago there. In the moment it feels such a distant memory. I get a rush of nostalgia for our Yandara family, though feel so thankful to be in Joey’s company. He is the last remaining Yandara yogi on Big Island other than me.

I am the only person that is able to make Joey’s class and so the poses are personalized to my body. It is a beautiful combination of deep stretches, discomfort and relaxation. Joey plays soft flute music over the light scratching at the door. In the time that I’ve been away from Kirpal, two kittens have moved in. One named Clementine has habited the door separating the kitchen and the yoga studio. She paws the door lightly throughout my yin class in a way that makes me want to pause and cuddle her. Joey jokes that she is attracted to the energy surrounding yoga practice.

A car pulls up just as we are finishing the class. When Todd walks in to the studio, Clementine walks in with him. I am totally blissful from Joey’s class and when we leave I notice I feel completely calm in Todd’s presence as well. “I thought we’d go to the lighthouse first,” says Todd as if there are many things on the agenda. “I’ve never been before.”

We drive back onto the dirt road where I walked many early mornings down to Pohoiki beach, but then turn off onto a more rugged and less travelled path. When the road ends, I survey the area. Volcanic rock has converted the shoreline to a black and porous runway. We walk down to the water and both decide simultaneously to climb to a cliff that overlooks the sea. Here, we drift easy into conversation. I learn of his parents and siblings, I begin to get a glimpse of his childhood, and his path that led him to Hawaii. I learn of his more deeper and spiritual beliefs as well, which coincide with my own. The waves crash beneath us and mimic our pace. When we finally we climb down to solid ground and decide to drive to the Kava bar in town, I feel lighter than usual as if the sea and the exchange have been an extension of my yoga class.

Music trickles onto the streets of Puna from the Open Mic night at the Kava bar. We hear it as we walk from our parking spot. We get two cups of kava and take our seats outside next to a little girl and her duck. Theo, who appears about 10, has messy golden hair, overalls, and bright blue eyes. “This is Pearl,” she says as she holds her tanned little arms tightly around the duck’s side. Pearl has a pristine white coat and I stroke its beautiful feathers with caution. A puppy gallops up to us from the back of the bar. She is about the size of my hands and I can’t help but pick her up and tickle her belly before she rushes back to her daddy inside. “There are a lot of animals here,” I laugh. “Is this normal for the kava bar?” I feel as though this is all some dream that I am not really living but instead trying to describe to my friends back home. Greatly relaxed from the kava, from the music, from the yoga class and from Todd’s company, I decide this isn’t real life but some fantasy. “No, this is unique,” he answers smiling.

We eventually decide it is time for yoga so we find a field across the street from the bar. Todd lays on his back beneath the night stars and I begin to fly on the base of his feet. As this is now my third time doing acro, I am more aware of my movements while ascended and more in control of my body. When we exhaust we lay with our heads touching on the grass. Amidst the gentle music from the kava bar across the street and under the protection of the stars in the sky, I feel as though I have descended back down to earth. It is all at once excitingly new and oddly familiar.

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