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Work Your Spirit and Stretch Your Soul at Healing Waters | Community Spirit

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Work Your Spirit and Stretch Your Soul at Healing Waters
Work Your Spirit and Stretch Your Soul at Healing Waters

On Saturday morning, I opened my eyes to the early sunlight, stretched my arms, my legs, and my back – waited for the cracks to ripple through my joints in all the tight places, and then got out of bed to greet the day. I put on a comfortable cotton shirt and my favorite yoga pants, found my flip flops, and packed my yoga mat into my Corolla. With the radio on, I backed out my driveway, and danced in my seat to Marron 5’s “Good Life” as my Corolla and I cruised through the open back roads of the Southtowns to the Healing Waters Yoga Studio in East Aurora.

The gravel driveway rumbled with spirit as my Corolla made its way down into the parking lot. The studio’s location at the base of the Cazenovia Creek, amidst 10 acres of wildflowers, a community vegetable garden, and between walls of rock that reflect strength and fortitude in the creek’s gentle waters, muted the sounds of the road from above, and invited me to leave my worries behind as I entered its peaceful territory. Butterflies and bumblebees fluttered gently as I made my way from the Corolla to the studio. Crickets chirped, bright yellow goldfinches sang from the trees, and the summer breeze seemed to enter my core as swiftly as it graced my skin. I felt tranquil yet energized; happy, healthy and ready for the 9am Vigorous Yoga class.

In other yoga studios, or in my practice at home, the spread of my mat has been my only geographical oasis, my only refuge for my time spent in practice. A candle or two helped; a potted plant here and there was nice too. But, there inside the Healing Waters’ Meadow Studio - overlooking the wildflowers and the creek through the tremendous windows – it took no time at all to clear my thoughts and move my body in an effortless flow, as I reached, extended and stretched towards the beauty just beyond the glass.

While relaxation came easily, I did not come for beauty alone: I came for the Vigorous Yoga class. Julia, our teacher, reminded us that yoga, like life, is work; it takes strength of mind and body to achieve inner and outer improvement. It was a joy to do this work with such serene surroundings.

After class, I traded my yoga mat for my camera, applied my 200mm lens, and strolled through the quiet walking paths neatly cleared in the space outside the studio. Strolling past the gazebo donned with Tibetan flags, past the Japanese Zen garden, deeper into the wildflowers, I was delighted by the multitude of colors, sounds, and motions of the wildlife buzzing about. Bumblebees worked vigorously to collect pollen from the flowers. Chipmunks worked collectedly to gather leaves and food. Birds continued to chase each other through the trees.

At the water’s edge, another student from class had ditched her car keys and her shoes, and was seated pensively on a large rock near the other side of the creek. A great blue heron swept over a fallen tree downstream. Water beetles danced on the water’s surface, creating ripples and movement that reminded me of the waves of rocks in the Zen garden. The chipmunks and the squirrels put on shows of their own as I silently observed their bustling. One chipmunk perched itself on a tree branch and seemed to enjoy watching me take pictures.

The Community Garden, overflowing with corn, pole beans, sunflowers, lettuce, and many other vegetables and flowers, represented balance in the entire Healing Waters experience. In the studio, students plant and ground themselves in poses: in the garden, they root and nourish their bodies and souls through their nurturing of the plants. Growth is demonstrated physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Work on the mat and work in the garden are simple reminders of the continuous work one must do in daily life to create the significant out of the ordinary, just as the simple work of the smallest insect in a field of wildflowers contributes to its wellbeing. Like Julia said, yoga - like life - is work. In Healing Waters’ unique and wondrous environment, enjoyment in life’s work seems not only possible, but boundless.

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