The River of Your Life: A Yoga Meditation

This entry was posted on Nov 14, 2013 by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg.
yoga meditation

Colorado River Winds Around Canyonlands

The River of Your Life: A Yoga Meditation

Writer Anne Lamott says there are two great metaphors for our lives: rivers and gardens. Thinking along the river lines when it comes to yoga, I recently decided to use this guiding metaphor as a way to explore the running and slow meandering of our lives during a Savasana meditation. Feel free to use my words or adapt your own to unfurling the river we live.

River Meditation

Note: Leave time, usually 3-4 long breaths of time, between paragraphs.

Once you’re comfortable with Savasana, elongate your breaths, slowing down your inhalations and exhalations to allow more space in your lungs, in your body, in this moment. You might even count slowly to three or four with each inhalation, each exhalation.

Now consider the river that is your life. Imagine the origin of that river from the joining of two other rivers, and see your emergence and early years. Let your mind’s eye land on how you moved with ease through your early years, and also small or large turns in the river. Consider the shimmering light on the water that guided you through infancy and toddler years into the heart of your childhood.

As the river moves, it moves you. Consider your early years of school (or home school) as you discovered more about your own river and what lies beyond these banks. Watch how you moved quickly or slowly, taking notes of smooth sailing times as well as obstacles you needed to move around or pass through as you grew in size and understanding.

Land next on the wilder waters of your teenage years, paying attention to sudden turns, dangerous or easy waterfalls, and ways you learned to flow or swim against the current. Look with compassion on how much territory you covered as your life moved from childhood to adulthood.

Now focus on your young adulthood years—the first times for so many things, from living on your own or with roommates, flowing into jobs and relationships, whitewater that plunges you down suddenly or lifts you up so that you feel like you’re flying. Witness yourself with compassion and gratitude for your perseverance.

Travel the river to where you are now in age, pausing to observe the rapids and whitewater, hairpin turns and easy curves, calm waters rippled with light rain, widening or narrowing of the river, all leading to the present. Thank your soul for your journey.

Now look into the future of the river. Watch where it travels and how it curves, maybe even oxbows around an island, toward your coming years. Send yourself compassion and faith for the journey ahead until the river merges with the sea.

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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