The View from the Yoga Studio

This entry was posted on Jun 11, 2012 by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg.

Redefine Beauty in the Moment

As I pulled my chest forward in upward facing dog, and right before I arched my back, I caught the view out the window of the yoga studio:  a field of rushing blond grasses against the fast-moving blue-gray clouds of the storm to come, and behind the earth and sky, cars darting quickly down a busy road, beige professional buildings scattered throughout the scene. As someone who tends to look for the beautiful, and who defines the beautiful sometimes narrowly—such as the wind moving through the grass and the contours of the clouds only qualifying as worthy of my gaze—the big picture shook me. Here was the world, composed of the profound and the profane, the human-made and beyond-human-created, the ugly and the pretty, the regular mundane realities as well as the illuminated ones.

This moment struck something in me, probably because I was focused so much on breathing and moving with my breath (along with my tired forearms and almost-aching wrists) that my regular, fill-up-all-I-see-with-all-I’m-thinking ways dissolved. Here was another realization about how small the room of my mind is compared to the vast view right before my eyes.

Here was also the opportunity to redefine beauty in the moment I breathed in. Rising back to mountain, I let the loveliness of the white and red cars, shining in the damp light as they zoomed past, come to me. People like me were rushing like I usually do, sometimes cursing myself for leaving a few minutes too late because I tried to squeeze in yet another task. I spread my arms, following my teacher as I dove down in a forward fold, letting my burdened arms hang loose. As I placed my wide-spread fingers on the mat and jumped back to plank, I felt some tiny bead of my heart soften for them, for me, for all of us being so hard on ourselves instead of taking in the shining and dimming world around us.

Rising back into upward facing dog, I inhaled, and my heart broke open in tune with the field, the sky, the road, the buildings; the moment, like any other, when any of us can show up for our lives enough to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Lowering to the ground and pushing back to downward facing dog, I exhaled slowly. The world within and without shone and changed as it always does.

About Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg is the Poet Laureate of Kansas, and the author of 14 books, including a forthcoming novel, The Divorce Girl; The Sky Begins At Your Feet: A Memoir on Cancer, Community & Coming Home to the Body (Ice Cube Books); and four collections of poetry. Founder of Transformative Language Arts – a master's program in social and personal transformation through the written, spoken and sung word at Goddard College (Goddard College); where she teaches, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely. With singer Kelley Hunt, she co-writes songs, offers collaborative performances, and leads writing and singing Brave Voice retreats (; and she blogs regularly at her website (

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