Monday, October 14, 2013

Purple yoga mat

My yoga mat is purple. Purple with violet elephants running down one side.

This afternoon, the warm, golden sunlight came streaming through the windows onto the hardwood floor as we shook. Panted. Stretched. Our yoga class is for beginners, but it's incredibly challenging. Cords are used to pull your legs and arms in directions thought impossible moments before. Arturo, the instructor, has learned my name and tells me from across the room "stretch Risa, stretch further. No! Further."

In surfing, there's a desperate sensation when you've been under water a few moments too long where your lungs start to gasp for air. They convulse in upon themselves, stretch against themselves, and you become acutely aware of each cell of your lungs. You feel each one, so furiously bent on living, surge and pulse with life, propelling you to the surface where you can finally gulp the sweet, sweet oxygen.

Yoga is similar. You stretch and bend in ways that make your muscles scream in delicious agony. You hold perfectly still in bizarre poses as your sinewy muscles gasp and cramp and pull at your joints. You listen to your heartbeat as you force yourself not to shake, pull your sacrum back towards the floor, lift your chin towards the ceiling, and breathe. Let it burn, just don't forget to breathe. And when you think you'll collapse in upon yourself, the pose stops. And you can finally relax into yourself on that wonderful, safe mat.

I found myself pressing into my purple, elephant mat as if it were the only thing in the world that could offer me security, stability, and a refuge during the tortures of yoga. As soon as I could get my body flat against my mat, silently whisper cuss words at my understanding elephants, close my eyes and melt into the mat, I'd be okay.

My yoga mat is purple. Purple with violet elephants running down the side. It's tangible representation of peace and sanity.

1 comment:

Adeline said...

Peace, meditation, relaxation, stretching... yoga works wonders to your mind body and soul!