In the memoir, Poser: My Life in 23 Poses, author Claire Dederer talks about how my yoga classes often have a theme related to the seasons. Claire was my yoga student for years, and wrote a book about her life and, in part, about me/my teaching, so she would know the truth about my interest in the seasons and how we are affected by seasonal changes. Spring fills us with hope! We are more energetic in the summer. Kids do much of their growing spurts in the summer. We tend to shed more hair in autumn. My mother used to say in Sicilian, “Cadano li castagni”, which translates to “chestnuts are falling” because my chestnut-colored shedding hair was everywhere. We need more rest in the winter. We crave light foods in the summer such as seasonal fruits and vegetables. In the winter, we crave warm soups and starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes and root vegetables.
Below is a poem I shared yesterday during the two yoga workshops I taught in Seattle. The poem has to do with the seasons (!) and is followed by photos, shot throughout the years, representing the four seasons. I took all of the photos with one exception: Rick took the tulip against the blue sky. The author of the poem is Wu-men Huikai. He was a Chinese Zen master who lived from 1183-1260. He wrote poems about enlightenment and called his poetry “sacred poetry”. He also wrote social, political, and anti-war poems.
Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter.
If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.
“Ten Thousand Flowers in Spring” by Wu-Men