My friend, Lori, is becoming a yogi. She lives on a lake, has two growing kids, and her mailbox is painted lavender. She’s teaching her first yoga class at a park next weekend and invited a few of us over to help her get ready. We’re all in our 40s. She served us lemon squares and macarons and practiced leading sequences. A blue heron flew by twice, and we drank mimosas.
Lori told us that the reason she decided to become a yoga instructor now (in her 40s) is because: “I refuse to hate myself in this next chapter of my life.” I knew it as a message and a gift, finely timed. I noted Lori’s assertion that this is a choice. Yes, of course. Why hadn’t I thought of that?
We all nodded in agreement about the changes in our bodies, the temptation to compare them to our 20- or 30-year-old bodies, the futility of that. We talked about the irony of becoming so solidly Self right around the same time the body becomes so unfamiliar. I have been in such a strange place with this. Wrestling. Hiding.
I am not a yogi. My favorite part is when it’s done and I can lie flat on my back with my eyes closed for an unexpectedly long time. Savasana. I especially enjoyed this at Lori’s by the lake, where the wind was blowing and the leaves in the trees waggled and told secrets. I had to move my mat, because a lump of grass was poking my kidney.
I read there are six main benefits of this pose:
1 – Calming the central nervous system;
2 – Aiding digestion and the immune system;
3 – Calming the mind and reducing stress;
4 – Reducing headache, fatigue, and anxiety;
5 – Lowering blood pressure; and
6 – Promoting spiritual awakening and awareness of higher consciousness.
I don’t know why we don’t just start, continue, and end on this. Skip the middle.
I like that Savasana is also called “Corpse Pose”. I was tired the rest of the day. My bones were squeezing something out. Maybe it was the trees and their secrets, the sunlight, the water, the blue heron, my wise friends. I think it was my body loosening its grip -- like a weight you don’t know is there until it’s gone. Death must be tiring while it’s happening.
Time is strange. Everything farther than yesterday feels like an eon. I think I'm okay with this.
There is so much I like about myself now – my clearer thinking; my boundaries; my abandonment of apologies for existing as I was made. I like my taste. I like the company I choose to keep. I like my ebb and my flow. I like my quirks. I don’t even mind the ones that others call flaws. These riches were hard-won. Why dismiss them just to poke at my belly?