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"First Yoga Class", by Mary Oliver

I read this poem before, but just a few days ago, lying down in savasana, at the end of a beautiful yoga practice guided by Baxter Bell, he read it to us and I felt that I was listening to it for the first time.


Here it is:




“Be a lotus in the pond,” she said, “opening

slowly, no single energy tugging

against another but peacefully,

all together.”


I couldn’t even touch my toes.

“Feel your quadriceps stretching?” she asked.

Well, something was certainly stretching.


Standing impressively upright, she

raised one leg and placed it against

the other, then lifted her arms and

shook her hands like leaves. “Be a tree,” she said.


I lay on the floor, exhausted.

But to be a lotus in the pond

opening slowly, and very slowly rising–

that I could do.





Thank you for Poetry, Mary Oliver, and my teacher Baxter Bell!





At Filoli, California
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