The heat rises around me as I settle down onto my heels and extend my arms out in front of me and lower to the floor. The quiet chanting coming from the speakers and the hiss of ujayi breath from the practitioners in the room seems to increase the energy emanating from the air, making me drowsy and heavy. I drop lower into my pose and my back opens as the breath travels down my throat and into the burning muscles.
My intention for this class is to come to an acceptance of my body: the softer flesh, the no-longer perky and now much larger breasts, the widened hips and derriere, and that effing belly I’d developed over the last two years. No, effing is not a yogi-approved term, but using it occasionally prevents me from grinding into high gear primal scream therapy.
As I flow through the various poses called out by the teacher, I feel the tight spots giving way in the tropical air. I try to balance on the middle of my feet, keeping the split and bleeding heels and toes from bearing my weight. I used to be able to blame years of three-inch heels for my feet, but since I stopped practicing in an office over eight years ago and at that point started wearing Birkenstocks and Uggs and other footwear that allowed my toes to straighten and my natural arch to return, the dryness and splitting has gotten worse, so now I find myself in the position of trying to find a cure so I’m not in pain every step of the day.
My abdominal muscles stretch and open to allow me deeper twists. My hips slowly open as I allow gravity to pull me down. I feel the ache as the tired joints slide over tendon and nerves to reach the edge of comfort. I cease to think of anything outside the moment and my form and I tend to the spots where I feel my breath needed. The pockets fill with breath and like balloons elevate my body to the white space in my consciousness, the white space my brain has created for me, and my practice happens in that space, void of any outside influence.
At the end of my practice, my palms open to the sky, I begin to come back to myself, to my mat. I am amazed at my body, the feats it has accomplished during its earthly tenure, the things I know are still to come. As I reach back to my intention, I remind myself that my hips and my feet carried me as I carried The Boy for nine months. I remind myself that my breasts, pendulous and substantial at this stage of my life, nourished my child exclusively for over a year and that for an additional two years, provided vital supplement, as well.
My body is amazing for what it has done, for what it still is to do. All of our bodies are equally astonishing for their strength and resilience.
I have reached intention for today.