“Inhale hands to prayer. Make it real”
My teacher knows I’m nervous, gives me a breath to settle myself here before I ‘show him’ my Surya Namaskar A. I know it’s not, but it feels like a test. He’s standing just on the edge of my field of vision, a safe distance away, an unnerving distance away. He’ll miss nothing. I feel certain my citta vrittis are manifesting their whirling most vividly, a tangible cloud of uncertainty colouring my every move.
I bring my best focus, the most real moment of prayer I can gather to my heart.
The prayer isn’t quite: please can I not f*ck this up.
It’s more: please can I allow myself to be here with this.
Can I get out of my own way. Can I find my internal steadiness and flow, can I find my breath, can I reveal the grace within me? Can I en-joy even?
And beneath all these is the prayer I offered as I came to the studio: please can I trust enough? can I come humbly and ready to learn, can I be open enough to see past all my own small stuff?
Focusing on my breath is the only thing that prevents me from apologising out loud after each movement.
- inhale hands to prayer. sorry I moved before I was really ready and present
- exhale to uttanasana. sorry my movement downward wasn’t smooth and even and I lost my balance in space
- ardha uttansana. sorry my shoulders creep up towards my ears and as my heels lift in preparation I’m more braced than graceful
- into chaturanga. SORRY my landing was so heavy, an unholy echo in the quiet room
- urdhva mukha svanasana. sorry I can’t find my inhale to lift me gloriously here, that I am closing down in the face of this opportunity for opening my heart
- adho mukha svanasana. sorry that I’m fussing around with my foot position
- hop forward and look up. another big SORRY that this is a scrambling launch towards the top of the mat, quickly before anyone notices me, rather than a magic union of bandha, breath and body.
- releasing into uttanasana. sorry that I feel some defeat here, folded over in an asana I hate passionately. I want to feel my hands and feet merging with my mat as I yield here, instead I feel as though I’m on hot coals.
- lift up to urdhva hastasana. sorry that my balance wobbles as much on the way up as it did on the way down and that my deepest wish is for my fingertips to draw me up, up, up until I might disappear into thin air.
- instead I slide hands down to anjali mudra; I am still earthbound. sorry that my prayer has turned to selfish relief.
One round done.
In this moment it feels awful. I grimace.
Yet it’s also awe-full. I smile.
And outside the sun is still shining.