hut tour, prana and apana, xylem and phloem

My hut is like a small container that I go into to sleep, cook, and get things. Once the weather gets nicer, I plan to set up a mosquito net and tarp (maybe A-frame style, as usual), and sleep outside too. Once the weather gets nicer, perhaps I will completely move outside into a mosquito net... except for my books and clothing and other perishable non-rain-tolerant items. 

I have little trails that run out from my hut. As you walk towards my hut, I have a special place to park my bike, and a huge wood pile. There are so many downed trees in this area that each time I walk out, I walk back with a load of firewood that I add onto my woodpile. My woodpile sits next to my firepit. My washing area is right next to my firepit as well, which I use as my sump pit (where I drain my greywater). I figure that since I make infrequent fires in my firepit (I use my woodstove more often), then whenever I do use the firepit, it cleans out and dries up my greywater, reducing the possibility of mosquitoes. We'll see if that works. 

Running adjacent to my woodpile is a little path that I take to go to my outhouse. How my outhouse works is I only poop inside. When I poop, I throw wood shavings onto the poop. The wood shavings help to decompose the poop back into soil, reduce stench, and keep bugs away. I poop into a hole in the ground. When that hole is full, I will cover it back up with soil and dig a new hole. 

Walking around to the back of my hut takes me to my forest garden. There is a small downed tree that I like to practice balancing on, walking forwards and backwards, practicing balance-related yoga asanas, and pretending that I am balancing high over the Grand Canyon with soaring orange mesas down below and the Rio Grande churning beneath me. Instead, I am balancing above a small garden that I just planted: local plants from elsewhere in the forest that I am curious if they will grow here as well. 7song thinks that I have so many downed trees around here, because of forest secession (or is it succession?) Regardless, I figure if the forest is changing, then I may as well plant new plants and see how they do. 

Right next to my sleeping-room window is a big older pine tree. I hung windchimes and a small pot of peppermint (from the calamus swamp) that I hope will grow, so that when the winds blow, the windchimes will tinkle, and the peppermint smells will waft in to bless my dreams. 

Every morning, I lay down my yoga mat, which I layered on top of my styrofoam camping sleeping pad (which we called "hoho's" at wilderness therapy camp in UT.) My yoga space is right in front of the pine tree (with chimes and mints). Next to my yoga area is a little path that I take into the forest to my compost pile, which I place below another older pine. I hope that it is a nice place for animals to come and find the food, so that I can watch them from my sleeping-room window (I have two windows). 

And, this is home! And it is constantly expanding! 

This morning, practicing yoga in front of my chime-mint-pine, I was delighted to connect in my mind a little bit of what we have learned in plant phylogeny class with 7song, with some yoga philosophy. Plants' vascular systems are composed of xylem and phloem: xylem draws nutrition from the soil up into the branches of the tree. Phloem carries nutrition from the leaves, created through sunlight and photosynthesized into sugars, down again through the plant. Xylem draws up, phloem carries down. Likewise, prana and apana in yoga philosophy. Prana is the inhaled breath, apana is the exhaled breath. Prana is like xylem where as you inhale, you can imagine drawing nutrients up from the bottom of your feet and expanding out to all your extremities, as your diaphragm expands with the air inhaled. Apana is like phloem where as you exhale, you can imagine yourself releasing what you don't need back into the air, as well as drawing down energy and grounding back into the earth. Prana: inhale, rise up while remaining grounded (with apana). Apana: exhale, root down while remaining soaring (with prana). The prana in the apana, and the apana in the prana. Like xylem and phloem; plants vascular systems. I can visualize the similarity as I rise up from and reconnect with Earth in a series of yoga asanas drawn together to practice balance and coordination. 

It begins to rain, the wind blowing in quick droplets against my cheeks as I raise my arms up for one final sun salutation before I return to brainstorming about my class project, then bike quickly to 7song's home for another day of work and play. 

I just returned from my day now, as I finish up this essay: me and Joy finished the garden, then we went on a field trip after our work day and saw such a grand diversity of plants and insects. Now, I will bike back to my small hut home, make and eat dinner, and dream about plants once more under the canopy of budding, blossoming, reproducing, and wildly THRIVING plant life, inhaling and exhaling to the autonomically syncopated rhythm of prana and apana, xylem and phloem. 

(PS- thanks to Lyca for inspiration to write about where I live. Lyca made a lovely photo series of where he is living in the woods, nearby. I haven't photo-documented my own space yet (as my space is still evolving), but words can try to capture what photos haven't captured, yet. Thanks also to Jon Young. I got the concept of forest paths from a recording from Jon that I am listening to. It talks about how we usually take the same paths into the forest. These paths form a network criss-crossing through the forest with the animal paths. The animals know our paths, but oftentimes we don't notice theirs. I want to learn this. I have seen squirrels and deer here, and hope to catch coyote one fine morning. Jon encourages taking different paths, since the animals will probably be hiding out around there. I look out in the direction of the cliff, and know that I rarely walk that way; and I will walk there soon. I am enjoying walking the same paths: establishing routine, knowing the trees along the way, watching leaves and flowers changing daily, and feeling my feet slowly wearing deeper trails into the Earth. Thanks to Noah, whose land I live upon. Thanks to 7song for fresh info about plant phylogeny, botany, crass jokes, and solid questions and answers.  Thanks to Richard Freeman, who tapes I am listening to, to refresh my memory and deepen my understanding around yoga philosophy, from Krish, Murti, and Babu from India, which seems like such a distant land, distant dream. And, I am so grateful to my yoga students (slowly growing in number) for--- already, two weeks into teaching--- stimulating learning and inspiring growth through asking questions and being as you are. Finally, if you've gotten this far... thanks for reading! ;) Let me know if you have any questions or comments! Namaste. ) 

Jiling . 林基玲 
  . wild . creative . spirit 
  626.344.9140 / skype: Lin.JiLing