A Random Thought From Yoga Class

March 3 2009

(Though One That Has a Chance of Being Semi-Brilliant) 

During Yoga class this morning we moved through several poses, beginning with tree pose (standing on one leg, with the other leg bent so the toes rest on the standing thigh--or below the knee if your foot won’t reach-- and our arms “branched” gracefully above our heads).  Next we moved into airplane (arms akimbo, body and head thrust forward, one leg lifted backward, ballerina-like). 

      We flowed into half moon by tipping nearly upside-down, one hand on the floor, opposing leg lifted up, body opened, similar to the beginning of a cartwheel.  

      When my body cooperates, I feel exalted in this pose, strong, elegant, feminine, and complete. I feel the way I did when I was seven, turning cartwheels in the dewy spring grass of my childhood home. 

      More often than not, however, I wobble even before my hand reaches the floor, and struggle to keep from tipping over. 

      The trick to keeping my balance, I am beginning to learn, is to pull my body straight up as if I had a string attached to the exact middle of my scalp, to tuck my chin and unhunch my shoulders, and to focus on one spot without wavering or blinking until that tiny spot becomes a blur. 

      Today my body responded and let itself be both relaxed and under control.  The string idea worked.  My breathing was regular. My hand settled, my arm stayed strong, and I held the pose. 

      As usual, we ended the class with our relaxation time.  As my thoughts floated, I realized what had helped me achieve that balance.   I had kept my focus on one tiny red leaf on an otherwise deep green bush outside the Yoga classroom, and had never wavered. 

      Like most deep thoughts put in print often do, this may sound silly.  But here’s my conclusion from a moment of perfect balance: 

      Life is like the half moon pose.  It’s tough to stay balanced, to make my body and mind adjust and change in a way that helps me accomplish my goals. 

      However, now and then, with practice, thought and quiet time, I can find a way to focus on one tiny red leaf on an otherwise deep green tree.

      And succeed.