There’s no place like home, and home can be any place.
I’ve never ventured too far from home.
I grew up down the street from where I now live. I went to the local university, and my biggest move came after college when I left campus for what was then my ultimate destination—a downtown Mary Tyler Moore studio apartment.
To this day, even though I am hardly home, I remain a homebody.
Having a home base has always secured and centered me, even though its location has changed half a dozen times.
At this point in my life, I am surprised to find another home at yet another location—this one being my yoga mat.
No matter the day, no matter the weather, no matter the worry, I unroll my mat and it’s like coming home. I am secure and centered just sitting there.
Although I am no longer married, I remember well the time when I discovered this man would be my husband. We traveled out of town—a very big deal for me as I had never really traveled—and, sitting there with him on the plane, I realized I felt at home, that it did not matter where I was because home was now with him.
Then, I was a single mom, making my home with my children—and was good at it, too.
I bought a house, settled us in, and there my children spent their growing up years, miraculously right across the street from their grandparents.
My son played frequent catch with his grandfather, his “Zaide”; we’d spend hours sprawled on their couch watching television, and their grandmother, their “Bubie,” joined us often at the kitchen table for after school snacks.
Always, just 62 steps away by my son’s count, was another refrigerator with home cooked meals and staples like ice cream, cookies, pickles and olives and more.
Now my children are many more steps away, living out of town and on their own, and my folks have moved not too far away, but away as well. My siblings have been out of town for a long, long time.
Yoga has brought me home in a way that is hard to explain, especially for someone who never realized she was far away in the first place.
How can I come home if I never left?
One of the studios I frequent was previously a townhome. There is a narrow staircase that leads to the first level, and the front desk even has a dishwasher. They serve tea and cookies, there’s a sitting room, and each practice room has a fireplace and windows with curtains.
I am fairly new there.
The other night, the instructor called for our starting position, samasthiti, or Mountain Pose. We stood at the tops of our mats, one half of the room facing the other. This is the time to set our intention before the flow, and I looked around even though I was supposed to have my eyes closed.
It struck me that night, as I scanned the now familiar faces, that I finally felt at home there. I got that same secure home base feeling as I rooted down through my feet and reached up to start the practice.
And that practice proved to be one of my strongest to date. I think it was because that secure feeling fostered a sense of confidence, and this confidence radiated in my body.
I lifted in and out of seated straddle with an arm balance on both sides, my handstands were working well, and I was able to keep my legs up and straight in several boat poses.
Mostly, I felt a core strength that literally lifted me through the practice.
Usually, I carry a sense of home regardless of where I am, and I think my children do too. I believe the security and confidence it fosters is what provides them with a launching pad of sorts.
But still, there is a deeper sense of home, one that seems age old. It’s inside of me, and I think I lost touch with it for a while. This is the part that is hard to explain. This is the part that I found again in yoga.
There is something about the flow and the movement and the mat. It’s the actual physical endeavor that seems to fortify my very core, the home base inside of me that is me.
This same studio had a meditation workshop where we all sat in a circle. It was led by a rabbi who provided instruction on brief, four-minute meditations.
On the first go, we closed our eyes. After a minute or two, mine sort of welled up and, like in samasthiti, I quickly looked around even though I was supposed to have my eyes closed.
Thankfully, the rest of the room was doing a better job than I, and so my tears stayed private. Afterward, each person was asked to explain the experience. Everyone had lots to say, but when it came my turn, all I could do was ask a simple question.
Why did it make me cry?
The rabbi didn’t skip a beat. He responded with a simple but meaningful answer before moving to the next person.
In Hebrew, he said, “There is something called ‘Teshuvah.’ It means ‘Coming Home'”
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Ed: Brianna Bemel