Two drops of sweet sweat journey, one right after the other, off the tip of my nose and connect with my yoga mat, expanding in various directions; my personal Rorschach sweat-blot. Snowflake maybe?
Wait, my drishti. I turn away from my snowflake and bring a soft, focused gaze back to my extended upper arm.
Inhale, come up to stand. I look over at the yogini next to me. Beautiful, serene face. Effortless form.
I wait for my mind to make its conclusion of thought or feeling based on what my eyes absorbed. But there is just one thought: sacred solidarity.
After 28 trips around the sun, I have created & proudly sustained a vulnerable space in my heart for the women in my life.
I have created friendships where reciprocity is expected, not hoped for.
Instead of diminishing them or comparing myself to them, I am inspired by and rejoice with them.
This has been no small endeavor.
My stomach still tightens with a great awareness that, out of uncertainty & a lot of unwillingness, I spent so many years bullying my vulnerability....and I lost the potential magic of brilliant female friendships in the process. I know this isn’t completely my fault. I know that the patriarchal mass media-driven world is fueled by a culture of comparison. We are not taught to be soft; in speech or in form (this goes for both men and women).
So I make a choice every day to celebrate my vulnerable heart. I will not apologize for it. I will look at the woman next to me, sitting radiantly in full lotus, and I will celebrate her.
I will uplift her.
I will thank her.
“The body can only gradually accept an asana.” -TKV Desikachar
Synonyms include: slowly, steadily, gingerly, progressively.
Another word synonymous with gradually is unspectacularly.
Most days, my yoga practice feels pretty unspectacular.
I show up. I bring breath and movement together to make various shapes. I give my body the choice to explore and, over time, gradually accept these shapes as second nature. And then I sit, ruminating in the unpredictable aftershocks of asana, attempting to remain aware and conscious of my breath.
Cooling inhalations through my nostrils invigorate trikuti (my eyebrow center).
Warm exhalations soften my shoulders.
Sometimes I feel grounded. Other times I feel a bit uneasy. I sit with all of it.
I rub my hands together vigorously, generating an immediate heat. I place my heated palms tenderly over my eyes. Opening them, I allow the warm heat to enter while gazing deeply into the swirling world inside my palms. I deepen my breath. I slowly lower my hands.
I thank myself for showing up.
However gradually, my yoga practice is healing me.
Along the way it is also revealing me.
But always at a pace I can lovingly accept.