My sister and I, along with seven other women, took an introductory class on using a chainsaw at Merck Forest last weekend. David Birdsall, the instructor was excellent. Clear, calm, and patient.
While in the woods, he demonstrated felling four trees in a precise, focused, and safe manner. What struck me was his reminder to be aware, not only of the machine, but of the surroundings.
What is happening in the nearby trees? What could happen when this one falls? Where am I going to be? How will the fallen tree be removed? How will the removal leave those trees left standing?
There was a lot of information to process, safety concerns, saw mechanics, understanding the physics of tension and compression on fallen branches, to name a few.
He said it was like learning to drive a car. With practice, actions become automatic, but just like driving it’s important to maintain awareness.
There is nothing we do that doesn’t require the same skill set, even in a yoga practice.
Am I moving into a shape safely? What is happening physically, when I move from one pose to another? Am I fighting gravity or working with it? Am I on auto-pilot? Am I aware of every movement as I’m doing it?
The awareness that we build in our practice, allows us to channel that focus into everything we do, whether operating a chain saw or driving a Subaru. The ability to stay calm, relaxed, and steady makes facing new challenges easier.
Incidentally, a hardhat with ear protection makes using a blender much more pleasant. Maybe that’s just me and my ears.
Namaste- PJs, a helmet, and a smoothie start a great day.