Optional Yoga at Sunrise by Daniel Becker

Optional Yoga at Sunrise


We’re told to drop into each breath then release the air
like wind in the trees.

Outside, a windmill slices light. The murmuring pines
are all piñons. The desert flows into the mountains.

The air is dry as sand. We’re told to look but not to focus,
but I can close both eyes and follow a ripple of wind

across a lagoon where it reaches a beach outlined by palms,
barely ruffling their fronds. My yoga wants to be the balmy kind,

the early morning dozing kind.
With practice and patience and hardly any pain

I can place both hands as far as the nearest horizon.
The wind in my trees is a sea breeze—

first you smell the ocean; then you taste the salt.
Our teacher doesn’t mind when a sailboat floats into view,

lufts up into the wind, drops sail, sets anchor,
and allows for the tide while settling in for the night.

We learn the planet can’t be far behind.
I’m folded in a hammock that sways with each breath

and doesn’t waste a moment.

Daniel Becker
Daniel Becker teaches and practices medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine where he also directs the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities and edits Hospital Drive, an on-line journal of arts and letters.

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