After awhile, they sound like whirring fans — creating white noise.
Their words come at me like dancing, fluffy feathers or swirling snowflakes that melt as soon as they land on me.
Most of the time, I dutifully follow their instructive cues.
But sometimes, I just want to say, “WHAT are you talking about?”
“Welcome to class. I want you to just be where you are today. Be here.”
Since I am obviously where I am, her words feel a little like a Dr. Suess rhyme after a while.
I am Sam. Sam I am.
I am Here. Here I am.
“Let’s sink deep into our mats, and let everything go. Think about what it took for you to get here today, and then let it all go. Let it sink into the mat.”
I try to shut off my mind and get into the lingo. I sink into the mat, letting every muscle just relax into the floor, like she says.
Then, I start thinking about what it took for me to get here.
Here where I am. Here I am.
I remember how I hurried out the door, and left the dishes in the sink.
“Let everything go, just let it sink into the earth below you.”
Okay, forget about the dishes. Let them go. Let them slip through the floorboards beneath me and down into the deep earth.
I struggle to let the dishes go. I’ve been collecting them a couple at a time from the Polish pottery salesman at Eastern Market. I’m not sure I want them all slipping through the floorboards and crashing into the earth.
Okay, forget about the plates.
I’m back in the class, being where I am; and letting it all go.
I am Here. Here I am.
Before class started, the instructor asked us to introduce ourselves by saying our names and something we like that starts with the first letter of our names. I’m trying to be where I am but I keep wondering about the names of the people around me, and what they like.
Holly likes honey. Trish likes tangerines. Who is the man next to me and what does he like?
“If your mind wanders, just gently bring it back to where you are – no judging, just bring it back.”
Fine, forget about the names. Oh, it’s Tom! He likes travel.
“Now, scan your body and see what’s stored inside of you today.”
I’m scanning my body, and then realize I should have gone to the bathroom.
Stop thinking about the bathroom!
“At the end of class, we’ll do some partner yoga.”
I hate partner yoga.
I can’t scan my body; sink into the mat or anything else after hearing about the partner yoga.
I’m suddenly uptight, worrying about Tom and I touching each other.
Who knows where Tom’s feet have traveled and what they’ve picked up along the way. I don’t want anything to do with touching Tom’s well-traveled body.
“Are you feeling things come up? Are you breathing deeply and sending healing breaths where they need to go?”
“Now fill your body with deep healing breaths and let it go slowly from the top of your head all the way out your toenails.”
Really, out my toenails? Is she serious? My elbow doesn’t feel any better.
Maybe I should roll up my mat and go home because I am not getting much out of yoga today.
“Isn’t this an amazing experience today? Can’t you just feel the spiritual vibe in the room?”
Amazing? Spiritual vibe? What am I missing? I feel nothing close to spiritual, I think as I press up into my Downward Facing Dog.
“Beautiful dog, Laurie. Oh, your dog is perfect today.”
“Let’s work on separating the human from the human being now.”
Separating the human from the human being?
I guess she wants me to transcend my body somehow.
I look around to see if I’m the only one who’s still a human, and I miss her next cue
“Let your Cobra shine. Think about what is going on in your legs today – your calves, thighs, feet. Are you sensing anything going on? What about in your belly? Place your hands on your belly and tune in to that part of your body. What is going on there? What is coming up for you today?”
As we move through more poses – Warrior I and Warrior II, a few Sun Salutations, and bridge poses, I start to feel the yoga rewards of focus, stillness, and “being where I am.”
“It’s time for our partner work.”
The stillness leaves.
She wants me to touch Tom’s feet – just a little gentle pressure to help him feel supported in his Cobra pose.
I suddenly hate Tom, but resign myself to holding his feet, and grudgingly start to stand.
Then, to my gleeful surprise, I see Karen who likes kiwi moving toward Tom who likes to travel. She stands over him and puts gentle pressure on his well-traveled feet, supporting his Cobra.
Happy emotions come up. Oh how I love kiwi Karen.
I love yoga. The word “amazing” comes to mind.
It’s the end of class, but my positive energy is oozing all over the place.
“Bring your palms together to seal in the goodness of your practice; and bow your head to your heart. Send gratitude to someone. They will feel it coming their way.”
I bow my head to my heart, seal in the goodness of my practice, and send gratitude to Kiwi-loving Karen. Then, happily, I roll up my mat to go home, where I can go to the bathroom, wash my dishes, and think about my aching elbow without any judging coming up.