I was sitting on the couch this morning, sipping my coffee, scrolling through Facebook on my phone. The house was quiet. (The boy was at an all night church event. He will likely be sleeping till dinner.) The sun was up, but the gray sky gave the impression of it being earlier than it really was. And I was just sitting there. Feeling like I was wasting something.
I should get up and do something. I need something. I need… yoga.
Now, this may or may not be something that randomly occurs to you. It randomly occurs to me. But most of the time, it comes to me in that creaky body, wow I would feel so much better if I stretched, gosh I should really get to class kind of pull. The “shoulds”. This was a little different.
This morning I felt as if I was being pulled right off the couch and onto the ground. I couldn’t wait for a class. I have time to turn on the music. I needed to move, right then and there. So I set down my cup, pushed the coffee table aside just far enough to give me a narrow strip on the rug, and stood in my jammies (ok, fine, they were yoga pants, but that was just luck of the draw today). Facing out through the screen door, I could see the sky. Gosh, I miss my outdoor weekends on the deck with my mat. This is going to be a long winter.
Eyes closed. Breathe in 4 counts. Breathe out 5 counts. Hold for 3. Do it again. And again. And again. I stood there breathing. And when I began to feel the tightness in my shoulders start to release as breath took up the space, I knew I was ready.
Into sun salutations I went. Those familiar beautiful sun salutations. They are like friends now. We know each other. As I lowered into my first forward fold and couldn’t quite put my palms on the floor, the sun salutations forgave my aging back and said “don’t worry, hang with me, it will come.”
I could hear my breath loud and rhythmic in my ears. That and the hum of the refrigerator were my music. My breathing became pulse personified. It was the drum beat that counted out the moves as I ran though them. Exhale chataranga. Inhale up dog. Exhale down dog. Breathe. Move. Dance.
My favorite part of the sun salutation is the close of each one, moving from arms stretched overhead, bringing them back to heart’s center in prayer position. It feels like an amen. So I did another one, from the beginning. Moving now with a little less cracking and a little more grace. And back to heart’s center. Amen. And again. And amen.
With my breath, sun salutations made way to a warrior sequence I made up as a went along. All the familiar poses, in whatever felt right at the moment, and magically, they flowed beautifully and gracefully, one into the other. Alternating reaching out with pulling in, breathing out and breathing in, first the right side, and again on the left.
Without hesitation or much thought I planted my hands on the ground and took a shaky crow pose. But I managed. (Note to self: eat breakfast first). And then laid my head softly on the ground and inverted into a headstand I haven’t taken in many weeks. Yes. This. Even as I lifted, I thought “I can do this.”
Eventually lowering onto the ground after another series, I rested in child’s pose, giving thanks for the metaphor. And as my body asked for twists, I turned onto my back and did those as well. I told myself “stay in this pose until you forget that you are in this pose”, and I let my mind wander, distracted from the contortion and allowing gravity to have its way. It worked. And then go the other way. That side’s a little tighter; it took a little while longer, but it worked over there too. When I realized I had forgotten, that was when I knew it was ok to move again.
And then I drew in, hugged my knees tight, took a deep breath, and with a sigh lowered all the way to the ground, prone to the perceived sky. Relaxed. Freed.
It probably won’t last long as the day brings back the stresses of the world, of my own mind, of the tasks of the day. But for a brief period in time, I was perfectly at peace. With my body, with my failures and my successes. With my life.
Alone, in a quiet house, my breath as music, Moment of Joy 3/100.