Familiar excuses skulk uninvited into my thoughts:
‘I’m totally exhausted.’
‘I won’t get home until so late.’
‘One week off won’t make a difference anyway.’
Lethargy assaults my limbs, bringing me close to tears at the thought of the gruelling 1.5 hours of class ahead. I tap away at my keyboard, ignoring the enticement of home. The easy option.
Sometimes I surrender to temptation; my tight shoulders wrapped in a cloak of guilt, punishing me for my choice. Most times I close the door on it quickly, banishing the unwanted trespasser stealing quietly through my mind.
The studio doors open to a secret world. Soft melodies drift ethereally around me, quieting my busy mind. There are no lyrics to distract me. The low lights glow like a midsummer moon in whites and purples—a welcome change to the unforgiving glare of my day.
My routine is clockwork and comforting. I greet my teacher, change quickly, and roll out my equipment in the same spot. I stare up at the Chinese lantern suspended above me like a white cloud. I imagine the stories it could tell of this very room.
Laying back on my bolster I start to take notice of my breath, imagining that the sea rises and crashes within my chest.
Sometimes it does.
The roaring waves take me and slow me. They caress me with their undulating rhythm until I am calm.
My stiff body screams out with the first pose and I fight to hold for my pain. Every part of me cries out to drop to my knees, to relief. I refuse. I know that this is part of the process.
Oh body, you cannot beat me.
Life teaches us to avoid discomfort at all cost. Yoga shows us how to embrace it, to use our life force to battle our physical limitations. To breathe on through it. Inhale deeply. Imagine the roaring river of oxygen flowing to the parts that rage against you in violent protest.
Exhale. Feel your muscles relax. Let them go. Sink lower than you ever realised you could. Inhale.
Salute the sun. Become a warrior. A dog. A cobra. You can be whatever your body desires now. The world is yours as you twist, stretch, lift and bend your way through the hour. Time is meaningless here.
I embrace my inner goddess. My limbs flex in ways I never imagined possible and my cares exist only in dreams. I can do anything. My world is only my breath, in and out, and my appreciation for my strength, for my balance and for the stillness in me.
I have much to learn, watching my teacher in awe. But I am not overwhelmed, rather inspired by possibility. She symbolizes a path dappled in sunshine, and I hope to walk there too someday.
We finally reach the point that I have waited patiently all week for: Savasana- The Corpse Pose.
A rare fifteen minutes where there are no distractions. No phone. No talking. No pain. Alone with my breath, and my thoughts.
My mind reaches out in shadowy tendrils to a place beyond conscious. Beyond memory.
And as happens so often this year in this place—I find you.
You walk towards me on a cobbled street, white snow falling around us. You are wearing that winter overcoat that you looked so handsome in and your hands are shoved deep into your pockets.
You flash me a cheeky grin and the nine months that you have been gone fall away in an instant. Your eyes are alight with mischief and it makes me chuckle. I’m not scared. I’m pleased to see you and I hear your voice, and your laugh. They are etched into my heart.
We talk. I tell you all the things I would say if you were still with us. All the things I wish I had said.
I tell you just how much I miss you and what your life has meant to me, to my family. The best part is, you talk back.
Tonight I actually felt your hand in mine. It dawns on me that I no longer fear death for I know now that you are waiting for me there.
The fabric separating sleep and waking is delicate in this place. If I am dreaming I don’t want to wake up yet. There’s so much more to share. Tears stream from my eyes silently, dripping onto my mat. Let them fall. There is no one to witness my silent sobs, and no one to judge me. You are here, and I cry for the days that you are not.
They are a small price to pay to transcend to your world, and I give them freely, my gift to you, these tears in Savasana.
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Editor: Renée Picard