We started in Paścimottānāsana. A strange sensation, never an opening pose surely? Brain started to question this, frustrations threatened. How could I be expected to take this shape without any warmup or hip work… But I’m here because I trust the teacher, that he has an idea he’s exploring and offering, and who I am to set myself against that. So I turned away from the mental wriggling and discomfort and instead let my body do what it would, to settle into that balanced place of integrity, to allow myself to be here. Who cares what it looks like anyway. This is in fact just an opportunity to be. “Nothing to do, nowhere to go” as my meditation teacher used to instruct, allowing us to be still.
Often in such moments of stillness the deepest peace would be quickly eclipsed by a sense of frustration and despair and a hollow, regretful feeling of time lost, misdirections taken, energies squandered. Any sense of liberation snuffed out by grief or anger. This hostility with myself fuels my doubts, that perhaps yoga and I were never meant to form a union. But in this moment I felt more embraced by it, in a relationship of give and take. I am here. And I am meant to be here. Frustration yields to a precious new sense of patience, an acceptance and an embracing of what is.
And some 90 minutes later we ended up back in Paścimottānāsana, 90 minutes filled with quiet dedication to moving within and moving through whatever was on offer. And now as I breathed back into this shape I felt some soft yearning, a yearning that emptied me out but also filled me up. A looking forward with hope and wonder. No regrets. Nothing past or passed.
about the way the moon rises
over cold snow, night after night,
faithful even as it fades from fullness,
slowly becoming that last curving and impossible
sliver of light before the final darkness.
But I have no faith myself
I refuse it even the smallest entry.
Let this then, my small poem,
like a new moon, slender and barely open,
be the first prayer that opens me to faith.