Yoga waits for me. I’m sure of it. And it’s been waiting a long time.
I’ve read about yoga, watched it being practiced, witnessed the transformation in a loved one’s demeanor after frequent application.
Yet with 54 just around the corner, I keep a safe distance even from a casual attempt at yoga. Consequently, my self-centered conflicts rage on. Conflicts fueled by a stream of anxiety, an unfocused mind, the absence of a practice. My emotional and spiritual struggles manifest themselves in the same lack of physical flexibility that has plagued me since youth. My body is stiff with anticipation of the next calamity, and I remain trapped inside it.
In my resistance, I arm myself with what I can remember from various forays into martial arts and I punish an inert foam-filled bag. I jab-cross it for my fears, Thai kick it for my anger and pound it with a Jo staff trying to free myself from the grips of stagnation and decline.
I fight my way out of whatever it is that life sends me, and afterward, panting and dripping with sweat, I am satisfied with the distraction. Nothing else changes.
This activity is all about fitness, I tell myself, as is running and working with weights. I wish there were a spiritual aspect to some of it—any of it—but the feeling isn’t there.
I confront the truth: Fitness takes the edge off but it isn’t buying me peace. As middle age settles in, I’ve been striving for a pattern of simplicity, to weave single-themed threads into a life that makes sense: husband, father, writer, worker.
To bring a spiritual practice into a physical one—a single thread—would go far to complete the plain, beautiful cloth of a life quietly led.
Somehow, I think I know that yoga is the answer. But not today.
I wish I could understand why I’m so afraid.
Eric lives and works in Flagstaff, AZ. He has published essays in journals of environmental literature and is a guest blogger at WillowsWept Review .
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