Saturday and Sunday I had the good fortune of attending the spring concert for Sine Nomine, an a cappella group my son, Ben, sings in.
I was especially moved by a song called "A Soft Day", based on a poem by an Irish poet, Winifred Mary Letts.
I learned that the phrase, 'a soft day' is phrase you often hear in Ireland, often followed by a salutation of gratitude. This kind of day, with a prevailing south to south-west wind brings wet but warm weather to the lush green countryside. The air feels still and calm. The rain is so soft that one does not feel annoyed by the rain, instead, one feels grateful for its calm, gentle, nourishing effect.
The very phrase, ' a soft day' had me immediately thinking of my yoga practice, which also led me to ponder future lessons I would teach. Iyengar has always taught me that one cannot practice yoga without attention to softness. He stated that there must always be attention to effort and non-effort in equal measure.
In yoga practice, we are asked to penetrate our consciousness from the periphery to the core of our being. At the same time, Iyengar has taught us in asana practice to extend from the core of our being to the periphery of our body.
Tapping deeply inside is the soft dimension that we seek every time we practice yoga. Though we are asked to extend out dynamically to the periphery of our body in an asana, we must continually tap from our inner being.
Such a practice brings both the mind and body to a quiet, peaceful state, helping us create a soft day for ourselves.