garden, yoga



Helianthus annuus

One of the many things that I find amazing about sunflowers is that so much growth and metamorphosis happens in near-complete silence (which this morning was broken by the bumblebee).

This spectacle went from a dry little striped seed, then a tiny, wimpy-looking but hopeful seedling that stood a 50% chance of survival, then sprang up to a four, then six, then nine-foot stalk with leaves so big that I could wrap my head in one. The flowers themselves experience growth in what seems like hours, opening up from a prickly dry-land sea urchin out to a delicate-edged star with hundreds of florets, which will be seeds, soon. The whole process, especially the later stages, seems to necessitate a sound similar to that of a volcano eruption of rocket lift-off.

I suppose this campaign of energy is partly what dance is about: physical expression of energy intensity and/or transfer, regardless of whether a sound is made. If I were to choose a yoga asana that resembles the life cycle or energy pattern of a sunflower, I would pick Warrior (Virabhadrasana) II. Both express a very sure, solid grounding at the base, with limbs and head reaching upwards and outwards, and a stance that allows a very broad view of surroundings. It expresses both courage -implying acknowledgment of need for more strength- and confidence -implying that there is certainly enough strength for the task at hand.