celebrating the vernal equinox with 108 sun salutations, 108 meditations on gratitude

My favorite photo of my brother and I taken on Easter 20+ years ago.

The last picture I took with my brother in June 2008.

The last picture I took with my brother in June 2008.

Springtime embodies so much beauty and growth; each day becomes a chance to relish in gratitude, a gratitude for not only the beauty of every day life, but also for the pain, heartache, and sorrow that accompanies that beauty. When we turn to nature we see that wildflowers are blooming all around us and that the trees which give us breath, our life source, are full and lush, and give so freely to you, to me. Our bodies, our hearts, all people, are images of this earth and as the tides move so do the tides in our bodies, and as the sun sets so do our bodies crave for rest, for dreamland, as our eyes settle to sleep. The lightness of the day and the darkness of the night are reminiscent of our souls, the darkness only exists when there is no light, be it the light of the sun or the light of our truth; the human energy that is palpable when you’re around someone living from their own unique light source is truly the greatest gift one can ever give or receive.

This time of year I think a lot about the circle of life, about the ebbs and flows, the giving and taking, the holding on and letting go. I think about the connection between you and I, strangers passing on the street, lovers entangled in bed, friends catching up as though no time has slipped by. I think about the human connection and how it extends far beyond our reality— beyond this world and into the next, beyond the sense of time and into forever, beyond the physical plane and into the heart, the soul, the psyche.

It was springtime when I lost my brother four years ago and it’s this time of year when I physically feel this loss manifest itself in my breath, my bones, my body; it’s the constant subdued feeling of when I first heard the news—the feeling of complete collapse, of shutting down. Lately, the hours of night just don’t ever feel like enough rest and the deep breathing on my yoga mat feels restricted by the weight of bricks piled upon my chest. I’ve learned in the past few years that all we can do is cry sometimes and that that is okay.

While living in Chile in 2010 I wrote this about my brother:“I felt my heart string tugging from the Heavens. You see, a piece of my heart is forever floating free, so beautifully, so gracefully in the Heavens. It is not lost, it is with my brother, exploring new lands from a spectacular view; liberated, free, connected. It is my source of inspiration, strength, and profound gratitude; a beautiful, delicate piece of my heart with mended scars, tended to by our forever love. I love you Bro, always. And I miss you…”

Tonight I will honor my brother and the vernal equinox with 108 sun salutations with Stephanie at Yasa Yoga. It is said that the human soul goes through 108 stages on the journey and that there are 108 marmas (like energy intersections called chakras) in the subtle body and 108 energy lines converging to form the heart chakra. Some say there are 108 feelings—36 related to the past, 36 related to the present, and 36 related to the future, and that there are 108 pathways to God and 108 different styles of meditation. Tonight I will meditate on 108 things I am grateful for—with the piece of my heart floating free with my brother being at the top of my list.


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