Every so often I remind myself that I started this blog in response to my experience in yoga, yet I have not posted a piece about yoga in months. Yes, I still go to class every day when I am in Cambridge. Yes, I still sweat and stretch and wonder half way through why I do it. Yes, I still believe yoga is elemental to my well-being and so the next day I return.
Being away from yoga for two week stretches during work travel takes a toll on my practice. My return to class is often a comedy of stiff joints and heat exhaustion, but yoga is like riding a bicycle and within a day or two I acclimate anew and return to my full posture range.
My practice evolves more slowly now, change occurs at a subtle pace that hardly seems blog worthy, yet change it is. My stretches grow deeper, my breathing is never labored, and though I have fewer moments of revelation, I have longer periods of psychic calm.
An uninvited guest came to stay with me about six weeks ago, a parasite that I have not been able to shuck. As I trial through remedies, none of which has worked so far, I stick to a bland diet, watch my bathroom scale dial descend, and listen to my intestinal chambers whistle like organ pipes. Although this is not as an enviable condition, it has one advantage; a hollow reed can create supple yoga. My half-moon arcs have never been so broad, my eagle pose has never been so deep, and my standing bow is elegantly tall.
Yesterday was the dampest dog day of August. Outside it was ninety degrees with humidity to match. Inside the hot room I had the misfortune of standing where I could not avoid the reflection of the temperature and humidity monitor in the mirror. Although the teacher kept the temperature in the Bikram cool range, about 107, the humidity started around 60% and climbed so high by the end of the class it hit 99% before abandoning a number to a series of dashes, as if we were cardiac patients who flat lined. I expected rain to shower on me any moment. Instead I bent like a crenelated straw, my outer shell lubricated slick, my innards released from anything that could bind me.
While my individual practice varies from day to day, my ongoing trend is always towards more depth and more flexibility. When the weather cools and the humidity in the hot room eases down and my parasite decides to go live somewhere else and I begin to bulk up again, will I maintain this breezy agility? I hope so, though I will gladly sacrifice some of my limber if I must in order to enjoy salads and ice cream and hot sauce again.
Wishes for healing, my friend…