September 26, 2013

Do Yoga in the Car.

Your car—it’s an oasis.

A place where your true nature reveals itself. With no one to witness, no one to know, you do things, you think things, you say things, you never would anywhere else.

What do you do in your car?

I was teaching a Yoga class tonight, a private, my favorite class of the week to teach. This student—I’ve written about it before—is my favorite Yoga student. When I teach her I feel so rejuvenated, so fresh, as if all the innocence of the world had come to perch on my shoulder and is smiling down upon me.

And that is precisely how I felt as I left the studio tonight. It was a crisp, early-fall evening. The moon hovered over the parking lot, and a few pungent leaves were scattered across the concrete. I walked to the car thinking, how lucky I am… to be going home to my family, my beautiful family, to eat supper and talk and do homework and tuck freshly-washed children into their beds.

I got in my car and turned the key. Music blasted out of the speakers. Something embarrassing… was it Usher? I tried to pretend someone else had turned the station to this, but no. It was me.

I put the car in drive, one hand on the steering wheel, and swung out of the parking place like I was someone important. Oh, I could feel it. That easy backward swoosh, the shift into drive. I wasn’t teaching Yoga anymore. I was driving.

Maybe it’s just me. After all, I didn’t learn how to drive until I was thirty—a common condition of city-dwellers. But I’ve noticed, when I get in the car my personality seems to change.

I pulled out onto the road and was immediately stuck behind some slowpoke van. I leaned as far to the left as the confines of the car would allow to see what was the matter.

Why the hell was this guy going so slow? Unable to determine the cause of his intolerable snail pace, I switched lanes, slicing neatly into the path of a perfectly innocent Mini Cooper. As I passed the van, I caught myself glaring over at it. I wanted to know who the person was who could possibly be that inept at driving.

It was just a woman. Like me. Trying to get from point A to point B.

Sigh. Here I am again. The Road-Rage Yogi. It’s almost like I am so blissed-out after teaching or practicing, that I swing swiftly to the side of anger when I’m done in order to balance myself out—meaning, go back to my normal imbalance because it feels so familiar.

Well, not tonight.

I turned the music off. I felt my hands on the steering wheel, felt the texture of whatever the steering wheel is made of. I’ve never thought about it. Is it leather? Pleather? Plastic? Where did it come from?

I took a big deep breath. And then another. I noticed all the bug smears on my windshield. When had these bugs died? Had I killed them?

I looked beyond the windshield. The road unfolded with crystal clarity. The trees lit up by street lamps along side me, ghostly as they leaned, pale green toward the street. Many of them were shorn in two to make way for power lines, their severed limbs raw in the half darkness. Others arched up higher than the telephone poles, magnificent in their scope and serenity.

I breathed some more. I felt my chest and belly rise and fall. Everything appeared to slow down, like it does when you are in the middle of a crisis. But I wasn’t in crisis. I was just paying attention.

Two birds unfolded their wings in the dim distant sky. They were too far away to see what kind of birds they were, but still I wondered. Geese? Seagulls? Heron? Where were they going? South? Or simply drifting over to the nature reserve to find some soft safe place to bed down for the night?

I pulled up to the railway crossing. Almost home now. The unlit stoplight flashed deep red, ignited my my headlights. The car bumped over the tracks. The cicadas throbbed and hummed outside, a hot sound on a cool night.

My breathing echoed the cicadas song, rising, falling, waxing, waning. I felt my lips turn up to smile. Oh, this beautiful world, I thought. This world.

And then I realized. I’d been doing Yoga in my car.

Next time a slow van plants its wide behind in front of me, I will breathe.

I will breathe. Feel. See. Smile.

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Ed: Sara Crolick

{photo: via Pinterest}


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