What about this move, and starting school, and returning to New York, has me yearning to do yoga again? I thought that I would be on my bike again as soon as I got back to the City, but somehow I can't stop thinking of my mat.
Yoga once occupied a similar space in my life as knitting and biking do now -- the sort of grounding, yet energizing activities that someone as riddled with anxiety as I am needs to stay sane -- but yoga has definitely fallen by the wayside in the past year or two. The spark went out sometime around the day when touching my toes was no longer an effort, when my scoliosis no longer plagued my lower back, and my shoulders, at last, shrugged their way out of their usual kurtosis. Yoga turned my tight, hard hamstrings -- knotted up from years of pounding the pavement day after day -- into painless, graceful limbs. Yoga forced me to sit still long enough for me to pay attention to the rumble underneath the surface, to hear my own body for the first time, and to emerge from an eating disorder.
But yoga now? Yoga this year? Staid. Uninspiring. Perhaps a tad repetitive, too, all of those Downward Dogs and Trikonasanas and Oms. After taking a course to be a yoga teacher a few years ago, I am spoiled when it comes to yoga classes: most instructors I can't stand, with their bottomless, blithe words of encouragement and their talk of bodily purity and otherworldly sanctity. I'd much rather be here, right now, in this damned body and this broken soul, thank you very much, than in the ones you think that I'm aspiring to. After my teacher training, the money that I have saved by not going to yoga classes and instead practicing on my own, may well exceed the cost of the course, which is a small satisfaction when I look back on it and wonder at my folly at spending so much to certify myself in a field where I'm no longer interested in being an expert.
Revisiting yoga has been, until now, a bit like staring at the books on the shelves in my childhood bedroom and remembering how important those volumes once were to me. Yoga had its place, to be sure, but like those things it has been supplanted in recent years by other interests. A little yoga in the morning, before work, to keep my body limber before going in to yet another day staring at the gray computer screen -- that has been enough for me this year. For spiritual insights, I find Zen more compelling; when it comes to physical activity, nothing, nothing, nothing does it like riding my bike. And still and yet and somehow, this week says yoga.