While I was away on holidays, I had an elemental experience, not with yoga, but with an actual element: water.
We go, most years, to a cabin, beside a lake, on an island.
There’s a comfortable bed, cold running water, a propane fridge and a propane stove, with an oven.
The toilet is an outhouse. There are no lights, so dinner gets cooked in the gathering dark. News and weather reports come from a radio powered by a hand crank.
It’s a simpler life. To stay fed, all we need is a way to keep food from spoiling, a stove to cook it on, and running water.
When you come from a world of choices between electric, gas and dual ranges, and three versus four-door fridges, it’s profoundly relaxing to see how simple the system can be.
But this time a contractor had disconnected the water so thoroughly that it couldn’t be hooked up again without plumbing parts we didn’t have.
Suddenly we were back to the previous water strategy: go down to the lake, fill a five-gallon plastic water jug, carry it back up the trail, and sit it on a chair so it gravity feeds into whatever receptacle you put beneath it.
It was not convenient, nor enjoyable, but it was, in a way, thrilling, like connecting with a stronger electric current.
Water in a tap is invisible. Water in a jug on a chair takes up a special place in your mind. You always know how low it is, and what you can and can’t do given the water you have.
Suddenly you’re aware of every drop you use, aware of how many times a day you turn to the taps, expecting water with no effort at all.
In the same way that a wood stove elevates cooking into a fiery dance, a jug on a chair raises the worth of water. We all know we can’t live without it, but we very seldom have to live consciously knowing how precious it is.
It didn’t last, of course. We came in on Friday evening, and by early Sunday afternoon one of our land partners brought over the parts we needed and hooked up the water.
I washed the dishes with a profound sense of luxury, which still hadn’t quite disappeared by the time we came home.
Using a technology much more mysterious than getting water through a tap, Dom Brecher from the Thursday 5:30 class has transformed My Five-Minute Yoga Practice into an iPhone app. You can find it in the App Store by clicking on this link.
Check it out, buy it if you like it, and, of course, pass on the link to anyone you think might use an Iyengar yoga practice on their iPhone.
Next week I’ll fill you in on the details, and with luck, I’ll have the official logo in place.
Right now I’m still adjusting to taps that deliver hot running water, just like that.