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Taken to the Mat



I could do this without drama 3 years ago. That's not quite the case at the moment. I put it that way because I'm not gonna say "I can't." When I learned the condition of my body, I thought I would never do yoga or hike or kneel at Mass ever again. I tried reformer Pilates, but it hurt. I tried gentle yoga , but it enraged me.


I tried hot yoga again, but it was far too soon and ended in tears.


Tonight I was crying in a yoga studio again, but not because I'm so far from the yogini I used to be. My flexibility is shot. So is my balance. I had to use props, an anathema to the Bikram method I first learned. I did what I once looked down upon: Modifications instead of the toughest form of the pose, which is where I used to leap. Why? Well, to satisfy this little girl I used to know who only thought kindly of herself when she achieved something.

I stepped forward instead of "floating." I spent more time falling out of postures than holding any.


And in some ways it was the best class I've ever had. I gave no craps about what anyone around me was doing or the positions yet out of my reach. My worth isn't in any of those things, nor is it desperately trying to amuse and entertain every single person in the room, because I was positive no one would want to hang around if I didn't--if it were just me.

These were all things I knew, but not things I *knew*. My practice is different now, but that's fantastic because I'm different too.


So when I saw the 23 year old next to me trying a handstand, I didn't think, "She's way prettier than me, and younger, and she'll get that handstand in the next 5 minutes." Instead I thought "Good for her. She's almost there," and went back to writing this in my head.


So, I was crying in a yoga studio again. It was the first time I'd even entered one since my mother died. I hadn't realized how much grief and pain and fear I was carrying in each limb bc and sinew. Now I can grapple with it physically instead of just spiritually and emotionally.


I am at peace with this currently unyielding body, and I will unbend a little more tomorrow. Or maybe not.


Neither outcome is who I am.

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