“I’m terrible at yoga,” I told a friend a few years ago after I had tried some yoga. “I keep falling asleep in it.”
My friend had laughed. “I’d say you’re doing it right,” she said.
That was back in the day when my father was still alive and I was sleeping with one ear open in case he wandered in the middle of the night. It wasn’t much different from the perpetual tiredness of a young mother.
I tried yoga because I had heard it was good for de-stressing, but in yoga class, I would lay on the mat, close my eyes, and fall asleep.
I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the right way to do yoga.
In retrospect, however, I suppose it was de-stressing.
I also suppose that’s why I wanted to try it again. Life these days is pretty stressful. Suddenly my blood pressure, which has always run low, is in hypertension-land. Suddenly I can’t cry.
I take that back. I DID cry a few weeks ago. I was sitting, alone and upset about life, when my youngest daughter came in the room. I honestly don’t remember what was said or not said. All I know is that she came, sat on my lap, wrapped her arms around me and pulled my head to her chest. I sobbed and sobbed, with my little girl holding me. (Okay — she’s not so little — 18 years old and 3 or 4 inches taller than me.)
It was all wrong.
I’m the mom. She’s the kid trying to figure out life. But I’m a bit of a mess right now.
So, anyhow, I tried yoga again.
I asked an instructor that I enjoyed talking with at the front desk. I’ll call her Edna (because that’s her name). We chatted about this or that any number of times, one of them being a conversation about young people having old names. She’s young and vivacious. Whatever you picture an Edna to look like, she’s not it.
So I came up with the brilliant idea of having a private yoga session with Edna and inviting my daughters to join me. I talked to Edna about it and she was willing. I gave her my number so she could text me some dates.
Later that day, I got a text from an unknown number that began, “Hey, Beautiful – checking my calendar.” I almost deleted it, thinking it was sexy spam or something. A second message followed so I peeked at it and it was Edna. Yep, she calls me Beautiful. That’s how she is.
Yoga with Edna was fun. Three daughters and one daughter-in-law came for the private lesson and it was fun.
But I didn’t cry. Or fall asleep.
Edna gave me confidence, though, that I could try another class.
I went to Restorative Yoga this week. Katherine teaches that class. She’s quiet and gentle and soothing. The class was very meditative.
When she talked about going inside ourselves, I thought about the passage from Howard Thurman — “There is in every person an inward sea, and in that sea there is an island…”
I pictured the sea.
I pictured the island.
I sat down on the beach of the island and stared at the sea.
I could feel the waves lapping at my toes, and the sand washing out from under them as the waves pulled back.
I started to cry.
In yoga class.
I can’t tell you why I cried, but it happened again the next time I took a class taught by Katherine.
I don’t think I’m doing yoga right.
I have a feeling, though, that Katherine might say that I am.