The Yurt (Part 2)

IMG_3890The construction of the Yurt is consuming me. The crew arrived at 7:00 this morning to raise the wall. Last night after everyone was gone, G and I cleaned up the site, and I marveled at the genius of the Yurt’s design. It is a mathematical wonder…a delight of sacred geometry.

A few of my neighbors have been by to follow our progress. Many had never heard of a yurt, let alone seen one. I wrote a few days ago about my first sighting of a yurt in Oregon thirteen years ago. I am not sure why I fell in love with the idea of having a yurt but circles and round shapes always attract me. When I teach a class, I like the mats or chairs in a circle. I love hula-hoops, circle skirts and round tubs. I look at the natural world and see spirals and curves. I love to spin and dance.

Yurts originated in Central Asia three thousand years ago. All things that exist in our modern world with ancient origins humble me. Anything that has stood the test of time has done so for a reason. As I stood inside our yurt, I marveled at the round shape, the lattice walls, the compression ring and the tension cord, which together create a design, which holds a significant amount of weight without any apparent support. This circular room, which is thirty feet in diameter, has no central support post for the roof, which rises 17 feet at its center. The design carries the weight of three layers of roofing materials as well as potential snow load.

The crown of the yurt is a skylight dome. In traditional Mongolian yurts, the dome was made of wood and its name is shangrak. The yurt may have been repaired and rebuilt, but the shangrak would remain intact, passed from father to son upon the father’s death. A family’s heritage could be measured by the stains on the shangrak due to decades of smoke passing through it. Because of the symbolic and sacred nature of the yurt dome, it is the choice as center of the coat of arms of Kazakhstan and forms the main image of the flag of Kyrgyzstan.IMG_3876

Last night, I lay on the floor of my yurt, looked up through the dome, and drifted into the future. I heard the sound of the didgeridoo, played by my friend and sound healer, Chris. I heard the laughter of dancing women, spinning and singing in their bare feet across the wood floor. I heard the chanting of students sitting on mats in my yoga class. I saw children, teen-agers, adults, young and old, connecting, sharing, learning, growing and loving in this beautiful roundhouse under the oaks. As I reveled in my vision, my heart filled with gratitude for the path that has led me here. I took pause to send thanks to all who have supported my vision and continue to hold my dream in sacred trust.

This morning, I want to say it again. Thank you to all my seen and unseen support. Because of your belief in me and my dream, we can dance on these boards under the stars and sing our praises to the amazing Universe we call home.

  • The Yurt (

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