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Yoga Wanderings

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My favorite part of Eat, Pray, Love—no wait—my favorite part was scarfing down all of Italy. Let me rephrase—the only part of “Pray” that I liked was one little paragraph where Elizabeth Gilbert describes her meditation. She’s really beginning to enjoy the mindful solitude of meditation. So much so that deep in the serenity of her meditation, she envisions her home with a separate room for meditation. “That’d be nice. I could paint it gold. Or maybe a rich blue. No, gold. No, blue . . . ” Yes, sir, that’s my baby. My yoga practice.

I love yoga. I’ve been practicing yoga for going on ten years now. I just wish I could clear my mind for more than five seconds.

In yoga, I strive to be completely in the moment. “If your mind wanders,” the instructor says, “Just bring it back.” Well, my mind wanders. It stampedes. And bringing it back is like herding cats.

I arrive. I spread my mat and stretch. I try to get to that quiet place. Some of the other students are chatting. Who went where for vacation; how many people were drunk at so-and-so’s wedding. I smile. I’m smug. I’m preparing my mind while they are chatting. But of course, my mind is listening to some very interesting chatting.

We start. I breathe. I can focus on my breath. I’m really focused now. I wonder if I have turned off my cell phone.

My first downward dog. I can see the lady behind me this way. I like what she is wearing. It’s not too tight, and it’s quite stylish, for cropped sweats and a tank top. It does not matter what you wear to yoga, of course. Except it does. This spring I purchased a beautiful flowing yoga top and matching pants from an upscale yoga fashion website. It cost a fortune. I’ve been to twenty classes since I purchase my new extra-spiritual costume, and I’ve worn it once. Everyone wears cropped sweats and a tank top. So I do too. Stylish of course. Two weeks ago, I was so enamored of one tank top I purchased just for the class that I made sure I was up front near the teacher so all my fellow non-materialists could admire it. When I got home, I realized that I had it on inside out.

I can see just about everyone during sun salutation. I am the oldest person in the class. It is usually pretty easy to tell. But I see a lady who could be around my age. I check out her neck to determine if she is indeed older than me. Nope. Younger neck.

Contrary to almost every other situation in my whole world, I like being the oldest person in yoga class. If I keep up with all these younger chicks (and that one guy over there), then I can certainly be proud of myself. If I can’t keep up . . . well . . . after all, I am the oldest person in the class. It’s a win-win proposition.

Then it happens. At some moment during pigeon, or warrior, or goddess, I forget to think. I’m just my body, melting and strong at the same time. I love that moment. I love yoga.

Time for savasana. Release, relaxation, restoration. It’s so nice. It would also be nice to stop for a pizza on the way home.

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