I asked the class to follow my barefoot feet upstairs to a naturally lit corner on the fourth floor of McWethy. There I had set up a pile of leaves and asked the class to sit in a circle around them. I then walked into the middle of the circle atop the small pile of leaves and began crunching my toes together and breathing in and out. I then began doing yoga, my regular routine. First sun salutations, then on to warrior poses and backbends, then resting poses on the ground. I breathed hard and loud; heavy compared to my normal breathing.
I didn't plan it out or practice it. I only knew that the sound of breathing while practicing yoga is a consistent one and the sound of crunching, dry leaves is an interesting one.
Feedback from the class included feelings of relaxation, beauty and flexibility, balance and peacefulness, a sense of unity with the ground. Someone said I looked like a puddle when I laid down. Some people said they would have preferred that I had more leaves; it would have made more interesting noises and perhaps fallen off my body more often.
I didn't want a lot of leaves.
In the winter I feel disconnected from nature because everything is dead and cold; I want to be warm inside. The small pile represented my small relationship with nature during this season. I also feel that few people have small or any relationship with nature in our increasingly technological and IT focused society. As spring brings new life, I hope my relationship with nature will regrow, and I hope that some of my art and interests may inspire people to reconnect with nature.