Monday, December 5, 2011

An Intimate Yoga Class

Yoga class was particularly crowded this morning. We burgeoning yogis moved our mats closer together to make room for more people than the space could easily hold. Lying still no more than a foot away from our closet neighbor, one could hear the intimate breathing of our floor mates . . . the inhales, exhales, sniffles, coughs, grunts, and all other sorts of human noises made during the course of class.

It was all very intimate.

We wiggled this way and that in order to reach our arms along the floor, move our legs from side to side, to just "be" on the mat. The yogi-in-training to my right has a history of bad allergies at this time of year, so her breathing was at times labored as she struggled to inhale through congested nasal passages. The gentleman to my right moaned softly. I wasn't sure whether the postures were too strenuous or whether he had reached a state of near Nirvana.

I wondered whether such intimacy would detract from my yoga practice, particularly when on this very day when I'd set my intention to accept myself, my life, and the world around me. Okay, maybe I bit off more than I could chew. But I thought I'd give it a go. Maybe all these people lying so close to one another were a test of some sort, a yogi exam. If I could do my downward dogs without worrying that my tail was in someone else's face. . . if I could manage a plank pose without collapsing on someone else's mat . . . if I could breathe freely and not be influenced by the breath of someone else . . Then maybe, just maybe, I was on my way to enlightenment. Well, okay, maybe just en route to a cheerful afternoon.