It starts with the subtle, “Hello” to my spine. A release in child’s pose, a deepening of breath and then mind, draw me in. I’m here. This is where I always am. Open me up. Down dog stretching my back, shoulders and hamstrings. I lift one leg and then the other, a small bright space begins to form in my hips. Step forward and I fold. I dump my mind to the mat, rag doll, loose but still room to grow. Roll to standing, lifting up and grounding down for perhaps the first time in too long. I am tall and so small as I resonate with the vibration of existence, “Om.”
Flowing pose to pose, saluting the sun, bits of my shell fall off. I am digging, excavating, self under self. And then we stand and I burn. The world crashes in, my focus quivers, my breath drops. This is hard. This is why I am here.
Off of my mat, I am scattered as a rule. Focus and organization is something other people do. Frenzy and flurry is closer to my lifestyle. I has taken me over 30 years to accept that it is simply my own personal crazy that makes me this way. (Acceptance being another one of the beautiful skills that yoga has given me.) But even on my most distracted days, I have found the glimmer of space between my thoughts, on my mat.
Warrior 2 sings my heart song. If every moment before this pose has been lists of things to do after class, frustration at tightness, guilt about leaving my kids, hunger, plans, rethought conversations, looping back to lists, warrior 2 brings me in. Pressing through the outer edges of my feet, my arches grow into the metatarsals of my feet. I find lift and support, strength through my root that spirals up the inner line of my legs. Calves lift and wrap forward. Inner thighs draw toward the sky. I keep nudging my front knee open, finding the balance between stretch and strength. Deep in the tops of my thighs my inner groin muscles wake up, lift and connect to my mula bandha. Warrior 2 is all about my root. Mula gives energy to uddiyana, cascading support up my spine. Like a wave, my back opens up, waist lengthens, chest explodes shooting life through my finger tips. And this is where my gaze steadies. My mind is alight with the power of the pose. My prana is balanced through the root of my body and the lift of my head. And somewhere in the middle is my mind, quietly settling my gaze over my front middle fingernail.
Silence. It is deafening, like the ringing in your ears that floats with you when you walk outside after a loud heavy metal concert. It is so quiet, and it fills me up.
I could stay here forever.
The moment I try to look at it, it wiggles away. Like squeezing mud in your hands. Most of the quiet falls between the cracks, when I try to hold onto it, but it leaves something behinds to remind me that it was there. It is possible. I sink deeper into the pose, trying to scoop up the thick, heavy focus.
Then we lift, reverse, and wash it away.
If you ever wonder, why yoga? For me, this is why. It is the brightness, the quiet, my body singing, my heart pounding. It is those moments when the whole world fades. When my body takes over, and then it too seems to matter less. I become a continuous flow of breathe and energy. It is the first quiet moment in too long, and it is always too long.
It shows up in each pose a different way. Each practice is unique, telling me new stories of what I have been up to lately, and what I am still carrying with me. Yoga is the moment my mind and body melt into each other. Yoga is the effort it takes for me to glimpse into the quiet, scoop it up and wallow in it. I want to cover myself in the stillness of my mind, till nothing can be seen or heard. I want to dissolve into it, and be one with everything. Some practices are still a mess. When this doesn’t happen, my body still feels fantastic. I get stronger and healthier. And luckily, I get to come back tomorrow and try again.
Why yoga? Get to a mat and find your answer!