February is rattling past and I have been focusing my writing elsewhere (getting the nicest possible rejection!) and reading lots. I've been trying to keep up my new year's resolution of exercising three times a week; running twice and making a trip to the hot yoga studio. The evidence of three children is still written over my body but I'm beginning to feel better.
I had a minor epiphany during yoga this week. The temperature was above 100 and I was somewhere between Dandayamana-Dhanurasana and Tuladandasana. The teacher was reeling off the benefits of what we were doing and reassuring us, 'It's meant to hurt like hell'. It struck me that my yoga session is a lot like life and mothering and writing. I turn up for class, I am there of my own volition (mostly), arms out to the side like airplane wings, the small of my back aching as I bring eyes up, chin up, whole body up. Certainly, there are some easy bits, some bits where I cruise for a while, but that's usually when my mind wanders and I realize I'm not really concentrating, not in the sacred 'moment'. Then there are bits when it really does hurt and I think I might throw up and I want to shout obscenities. I know that's when my body will actually change but I'm sure the postures are going to break me. I stay in the room and count to ten and try to breathe. Then there are bits where I switch off and cheat and my ankles don't really lift off the floor, my knee isn't locked and I keep my eyes down. It doesn't make me feel good about myself, the cheating, but sometimes I need the break. I see the newcomers, the ones who have had to raise their hands and say it's their first class, and I remember when that was me. They need help identifying their left hand from their right and are told to watch others before they join in. But before I get cocky, there's always the people in the front row, immaculate in lycra, to remind me that I'm not a veteran either, and even though I've been doing this on and off for years, my postures still suck. Sometimes the teacher opens the window and the cool evening air brushes me with it's magic and I can't think of anything better, and I remember how much I love this class and how great I feel when I'm flexible and strong and how it's going to keep me healthy as I get older, and I'm dripping with hope, remembering there's always the possibility that I might actually be able to get my legs off the floor in Salabhasana. Then I hear the window closing and I realize that, no, it's just hot, stifling and painful. By the end of the class, I've almost drained my water bottle, the last sip is luke warm and carries a hint of metal. Then we end up in Savasana and the teacher switches off the lights. I lie there for a few seconds in the clammy putrid dark, letting relief wash over me. And I keep coming back.