I sit in the front row of my yoga class—in my kid-craft-stained t-shirt and my non-organic yoga pants—completely vulnerable and exposed.
I want to be close to the window so the light can shine on me and fill me with light. I want to feel the vibrations of the gong, I want to stand tall near the Banyan tree, visualizing my own roots traveling deep into the earth.
I sit in the front row, not to be seen by the class behind me, but to hide from the demons and let myself be free. In the front row, the world and its judgments slip away far behind and become distant.
It is quiet up here. I can quiet my mind from the endless stories it tells me of the world, the tales of the past and worries of the future. When I roll out my mat and roll out my blanket, it becomes a safe place.
I lay down and open my heart, I listen to my breath, and I feel as it expands the cells inside my body. The shuffling of feet going by as the students get their props are like little waves around my island of exploration.
I sit in the front row. I am not here to work out, and I am not here to stretch. I am here finding my soul—it’s deep inside this body, which has been grasping it tightly for so long.
I am here to feel—to feel my body and to feel energy pulsing through me. I’ve lived in my head too long. It’s a place that was safe—safe, but cold and sometimes dark.
On my mat, I am learning to lean into the uncomfortable—I am seeking the answers only my body can tell me. On my mat, I do not want to escape myself—I find the stiff, sticky, stuck parts and breathe into them like I have little lungs all over.
At times I want to get up and run away, for there’s energy flowing through some parts that I haven’t felt in a long while—and here is where I can stay still and feel and let the tears flow.
As I learn to sit and stay with my feelings, they are able to be free. Each class is a gift I’ve learned to offer myself. And if I can be on my mat without expectations and without ego, I am taken on a journey.
My soul sings to me—the universe reminds me I am not alone. Each asana with it’s own story to tell. Layer by layer, heartbeat by heartbeat, with each inhale and exhale—I am freeing my soul.
At the end of the class, I open my eyes and bow to the light that stands at the front of the room, holding space for us all to heal and find ourselves. One practice at time.
Author: Ashley Magown
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina
Photo: Jessica Eileen