Wednesday, June 13, 2012


I'm stretching myself out on a lazy summer afternoon, willing myself to stick to my daily asana practice in spite of the heat and ferocious sunlight my drawn blinds can't keep out. The instructional online yoga video (labeled Not For Newbies, which is both gratifying and strange) is telling me to focus on my breath and relax the root of my tongue, connecting my feet to the earth.
This irks me. My feet, I think, will be connected to the earth whether or not I think about my alignment, because gravity will keep them there. I move up into a standing split, ruminating on gravity and the earth and the smallness of things, wobble on my standing foot and press my palms into my mat to steady myself. My ego pricked by the earlier imbalance, I kick up into a handstand, letting my heels thud dully against the door while I consider the world from a topsy turvy perspective. For a while, I thoughtlessly move through inversions and twists, deliberately staying longer in the deepest stretches, frustrated with not reaching new places. For someone who is supposed to be teaching yoga in a few months, I find myself remarkably uninspiring sometimes. Remarkably eager to go places. Remarkably ready to try something else.
There is something about this place, I tell my friends, which makes you desperate to escape. I know I'm talking nonsense and it has less to do with the place than my sense of something burning out, something burning up, which I blame on the heat outside. I stare at myself in the mirror, standing on my mat, half-expecting my hair to come alive and crackle and close my eyelids. I can't help but open them now and then, watching the lines of my body with eyes that look out train windows-curious, exploratory. I think about train windows. I think about how many times a week people comment on or look at my body as though I was a view from a train, reminding me about roundness and fullness that wasn't always there. I try to care, but my frustration melts away as I bend backward into wheel pose, lift one leg towards the sky and fail to give a damn. All of my heart is open and pointing upward and feeling like I am going somewhere, going to go somewhere.
Later, I can't decide if it was the video voiceover, the rush of blood to my head or my attempt at quieting the crackle in my brain that leaves me feeling like this is where I need to be, right now. I am hopelessly aware that I am not in that place where inspiring experiences follow me everywhere I go. I also promised myself that before I turn 25, I will achieve milestones which will be terrifying and beautiful. When I made the promise, I think I saw myself literally leaving, going to geographical locations that blow my mind. Now, I anticipate staying right here, experimenting with the thousands of ways I can terrify and conquer myself-physically yes, on my mat, but also going places in my head I never knew how to go to before. Milestone one achieved, I think.