January 16th, 2018 marked the anniversary of a bad car crash that Dylan and I had two years ago. That morning, we had gone out for a morning yoga class. On the drive home, we hit a patch of black ice on a hill. As we slid out of control, headed straight for a bridge, time slowed. (It actually slowed, like in the movies!) We had enough time to realize what was happening, but couldn't do anything to stop it. Our car ended up getting lodged in between an iron bridge and a large boulder. Lucky for us, the air bags didn’t deploy. The first thing we did was check in with each other, then assess the situation. Neither of us were hurt, but Dylan’s door was blocked by the bridge. My door was our escape route. We moved carefully in the event that the redistribution of our weight might send the car down the river bank. Our car was totaled, but neither of us had a scratch on us. We were so fortunate. I will never forget that day for all of the craziness that it was, but also because it was my birthday.
This year, we’ve had a pretty messy winter, between the bitter cold, cutting winds, amassing snow, and ice-ridden streets. The memories of driving on black ice are all too fresh, so we've amended our schedule rather than venturing out. Canceled New Years Eve plans, absences from early morning yoga classes, and missed evening craft gatherings have all been attributed to ice (or the potential for ice) on the roads. Needless to say, I’ve been seeking a lot of shelter indoors.
In seeking shelter from the harsh conditions outside, I have found the perfect knitting project to inspire me this month. I’m knitting Andrea Mowry’s, The Weekender, in the suggested yarn, Shelter by Brooklyn Tweed. This is my first time knitting with Brooklyn Tweed, and Shelter is a nice worsted weight, so it’s knitting up relatively quickly. I also have a lot more chance to knit, as I haven’t left the house for days at a time.
Shelter is a Targhee-Columbia 2-ply wool that is light and rustic, but not itchy in the slightest. (If I hear the words ‘rustic wool,’ I immediately start to scratch, but not so with this wool.) The Weekender pattern calls for a lot of stockinette in the round. Together, the soothing wool and relaxed pattern provide an ideal respite from the winter weather frenzy. Once it’s finished, it will also provide ample warmth, as the ‘fibers remain in a lofty jumble that traps air.’ Sign me up. This Florida-raised gal has found out the hard way that ‘dressing for winter’ is not as much fashion as it is function. Wool is one of my new best friends. And when I knit with it, I can check both the fashion and function boxes.
Even when I can’t actually make it to a yoga class because of winter’s melee, I still manage to find inspiration in the practice. Or at least one pose of the practice - savasana - also known as corpse pose, or final rest. (Side note: I’ve seen a T shirt that says, “I’m here for the savasana,” and while it’s funny in a ‘true, but not really’ kind of sense, it actually perfectly encompasses my feeling about yoga on super wintry days.)
Seeking shelter is about looking for safety and protection. It’s about finding sanctuary, refuge, comfort and peace. So too, is savasana.
Traditionally performed at the end of a yoga class, this pose of final rest is intended to give the body time to soak in the fruits of the practice. It’s the time for the body to assimilate all the movement, concentration, effort and intent. While the mind can take this as a cue to pipe up and start planning the day, or rehashing events of the past, savasana is meant to be a pose of great relaxation.
You’d think that with all of the time I’ve spent indoors, being a lot less active than usual, I’d pick a more energizing pose to get me through winter. Nope. I like to lay down with a blanket, an eye pillow, and at least 10 minutes. (I’ve been known to lay down on a bed of nails, but that’s a subject for another time.) I attempt to quiet my clamoring mind, I scan through my physical body, I say a few intentions, and I focus on my breath. Nothing fancy, nothing particularly ‘yogic’ about it. It’s basically a glorified ‘waking nap.’
I find a lot of comfort and peace when I carve out the time for a daily savasana. Sure, it's fab when it comes at the end of an invigorating yoga class, but it's also pretty great on it's own. At the end of the day, it’s nice to know that I don’t have to go anywhere to find shelter - be it from the storms outside, or those inside my head. I can seek, and find, shelter within.
While I enjoy these practices of seeking shelter in the dog days of winter, I still eagerly await the first signs of spring. Hopefully, by then, I’ll have a lot of hours logged in deep relaxation, as well as a couple more items added to my wardrobe!
Has winter been keeping you indoors a lot this year? Have you sought shelter in your creative life as a result? I'm always looking for ways to keep busy while hiding from the weather, let me know what your favorites are! Stay safe out there, everyone.