hurricane sally yoga

Hurricane Sally Yoga

September 16, 2020

I woke up at 3:45am to the sound of wind howling and rain pounding on the roof. I could hear the door to our back porch slamming against its frame. I got up to check on the porch, which is screened in and open to all weather all year long. The wind was blowing the rain sideways through the screens. I could see water beginning to pool outside in the backyard.

I took a breath in and let it out.

I wish I could say I went right back to sleep, but I didn’t.

I never went back to sleep. Nettie woke up and needed nursing. Then Archer woke up, scared of the loudness of the storm. Nettie wouldn’t go back to sleep and honestly, I was wide awake, too.

Water had started seeping in through the huge, glass doors that separate our living room from the back porch. So Nathan and I started at the task of placing down towels to soak up the water and prevent too much of the carpet from getting wet.

I took a breath in and let it out.

None of us could go back to sleep.

The wind and rain were too loud, intense, and distracting. We all went to the living room and sat on the couch. Archer cuddled up with Nathan and fell asleep again. Nathan decided to lie down and rest in bed. I decided to sit in meditation while nursing Nettie. I wrapped up in my meditation scarf, put Nettie on my boob, and closed my eyes.

I took a breath in and let it out.

With my eyes closed, I sat listening to the wind and rain and the sound of my son snoring lightly and the sound of my daughter drinking milk.

I didn’t sit for long.

Nettie passed out so I scrolled aimlessly through instagram, stalling. I didn’t really feel like adulting yet.

Everyone else was asleep. The house was so quiet.

I took a breath in and let it out.

When I got up, I realized that even though everything felt off because of the hurricane, I could still do a few of my typical morning routine actions. I wrote for 5 minutes and did my dry brushing and oil massage. When I finished, I felt a little more grounded.

Then I filled up our water bottles, just in case we lost water. I plugged in my phone to charge, in case we lost power. Even though I wanted to move my body, nothing felt right yet. So instead of doing yoga, I dealt with the towels, already soaked through and replaced then.

In order to get them dry so we could use them again, I had to wring out each towel by hand. It was tedious and required a surprising amount of strength.

I took a breath in and let it out.

The sky was beginning to get lighter and I could see more outside. Tree limbs were down and the water was still rising. I replaced the towels at the door and started cleaning up as much as I could.

All I wanted to do was get on my mat, but it still didn’t feel right.

I checked my phone and it was 8:30. Barely light out and I’d lost all sense of time. Milly was awake by now and terrified for the mama cat and her kittens, residents of our front porch for the past few months.

Mama took refuge on our back porch and the kids were trying to get me to trap her and get her safely inside. A feral cat.

After a few unsuccessful tries, she snuck inside and hid in our laundry room. An eternity later, I managed to coax her into our garage. I haven’t seen her since, despite the food I set out for her.

I took a breath in and let it out.

Everyone was hungry, so I made breakfast. Our power went out. And flickered back on. And off. And on.

I took a peek outside and the water, which had risen almost up to our porch, was receding.

Finally, I felt like I could move my body.

I did a workout and tried not to step onto my youngest daughter, who kept finding her  way under my feet.

When I finished, I was super sweaty but couldn’t properly shower so I used a washcloth to cool off. Not nearly as satisfying, FWIW.

I took a breath in and let it out.

By now, it’s almost 10am. I finally eat my breakfast. My parents call because they’re worried, so we talk. I get my get to brush their teeth so I can put the TV on — I am so tired of adulting at this point.

For the next few hours, as the rain stops but the wind continues, I take stock of the damage. A huge branch from our neighbors yard has taken out our kumquat tree. Several other large limbs crisscross our backyard. The ground is covered with leaves, berries, twigs, and worms. Lots of worms. I can hear frogs everywhere, but haven’t yet seen one.

I decide to take the big kids for a walk while Nettie and Nathan nap. The kids are stir crazy and so am I. We walk around our circle and observe the damage. Fences are down and loads of tree limbs, but thankfully no full trees. My kids jump in puddles and scream into the wind.

Milly says, “Mommy I want to help people. I don’t know what to do, but I want to help.”

As we round the corner, we notice an elderly neighbor picking up large sticks in his yard. I enlist my kids and we all help him out. It’s a small thing but it makes us feel like we’re doing something productive and helpful.

I take a breath in and let it out.

By now, the wind has died down some but it’s still gusting from time to time. 

I unroll my yoga mat and move my body.

After a long day filled with uncertainty and stress, I feel a little relief. We’re not in danger. Our house is still standing and the damage is minimal. We have power and water to drink. 

Even as I do my physical yoga practice, I remind myself that I’ve actually done yoga all day long.

The practice of yoga is living skillfully. No living perfectly, but breathing through the hard moments. Listening closely. Adapting as needed. Moving forward or taking a step back. Listening again. Acting in service. Building awareness. Expanding your consciousness. 




We tend to place a high value on asana.

I always have. Moving my body is my strongest medicine. It heals and strengthens me. I rely on movement to help me feel healthy, strong, powerful, and full of possibility.

There are so many benefits to the physical practice of yoga.

It also has limits.

While I am super grateful for my asana practice, it’s the yoga of living that gets me through hurricanes.

The winds and rain in my life are sometimes turbulent and I don’t always navigate them skillfully. So I am grateful for the skills I’ve learned on my mat and off that help me listen closely, act with more attention, and grow. To take care of myself and others, even when it’s hard to do either well.

I take a breath in and let it out.

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