I’ve been writing for a long time: diaries when I was a girl, journals when I was in college and beyond, and now still the journals and this blog. Today I went back to my first blog, one I made for a college class assignment. I wrote all the code, inserted graphics and pictures and got a “A.”
One of my first entries on this virgin blog was entitled “Yoga Could Save Me, If I’d Let It.”
It was all about how I had just gone through 3 weeks of hell teaching HS English and had to bail on my weekly yoga class due to after-school commitments. I was tooling along really well, though, getting my lessons planned and taught, dealing with parents, going to IEP meetings, dodging air-born shrimp poppers during cafeteria duty, waving at school buses from the curb outside the school during “bus duty.” Everything was fine ‘n dandy, but I wasn’t making it to yoga. Just. Too. Busy.
And then a little window of time opened up and I was able to make it back to my weekly class in Elmira. It was the week before Christmas too, and I marveled at the fact that somehow, in that most frantic week of the year, I was able to find my way back.
It was a crazy-scary backbend class. Wheel and Camel were the featured postures. I felt slightly dizzy and nauseous the whole time. I couldn’t find my body, which sounds bizarre, I know, but if you’ve ever practiced for any time at all, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Yoga makes you so aware. You become aware not just of bones and muscles and tendons, but of cells! Really. I kid you not. It’s the most amazing thing. There’s this intimacy that starts to build, this knowing. It’s like a deep friendship, or like a love-relationship you start to have with your body. Over time, it gets really intense.
So when all this stops suddenly because you get busy, it feels so abrupt, so uncalled for. It’s as if the body cries out, “What did I do wrong??”
And you just choose to ignore it.
I drove to Elmira that night and did that crazy backbend practice then fell into a sweaty heap for savasana. The teacher played an instrumental version of “Silent Night,” and for the full ten minutes of savasana I wept. Hot, hot tears streamed from the corners of my eyes down into my ears into my hair.
In those teary moments I flashed on fragments of difficult parent/teacher conversations from the recent weeks. I saw pinched little faces peering out from behind grimey school bus windows. I saw myself, head in hand, red-penning my way through mountainous stacks of incomprehensible student essays, wailing in frustration.
And then I backed up and saw myself, lying on the floor, in that dark yoga room, listening to Silent Night.
I felt my body “come to” like an unconscious person does from a coma. For the first time in weeks. I knew myself again. I was back, rejoined. My body unclenched, let out a sigh, and returned to me.
And I cried, as I always do whenever I read, or watch a movie about a reconciliation after a long estrangement.
“Yoga could save you, if you’d let it, Kath.” That’s what I heard in my head that night. “All you have to do is let it.”
Tonight one of my students came back to class after having been away for a few weeks. Afterward, she said something to the effect of, “How did I ever manage to stay away for so long??”
All I could say was, “I know.”
Because I did.