Image courtesy of Quinn Cowper via Flickr
Today is a full moon day in Portsmouth. It's cloudy, but last night the moon was gorgeous. When I see the moon I think of my first yoga teacher, Margaret Savastano, who died of esophageal cancer in October 2001. At her memorial service I learned that she had placed great importance on the cycles of the moon, and one of the speakers -- her spiritual teacher -- said that we should think of her when we look at the moon. So I started doing that. I miss her, but I have found it comforting to feel that she was greeting me or looking over my shoulder when the moon was visible.
Margaret put a strong imprint on my practice. She was a chiropractor and used a very gentle form of chiropractic, Network Spinal Analysis, with an amazing healing touch. Her class was full of her patients, myself among them. From this beginning, I have always approached yoga as primarily a healing activity.
Ashtanga is a flowing practice anyway, but Margaret emphasized that aspect. She taught us to sustain the movement (as much as possible) without pause from in-breath to out-breath and posture to posture, from the start of the first suryanamaskar (sun salutation) all the way to savasana (corpse pose). She taught that savasana is the most important posture and that the whole point of yoga practice is to enable us to sit for meditation. Thank you, Margaret, for these gifts!