A Skeptic Goes to Yoga

Loneliness smells like coriander and garlic cooking, in a pot too heavy to lift with one hand.

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It sounds like a CD I’ve been listening to every day. Today, 3 times since breakfast.

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(Does anyone even listen to CDs anymore? It’s just not the same, to send somebody a playlist. I don’t want a playlist; I want a blank CD that you burned for me, by the book or not completely. I want something you took multiple magic markers to — whether you’re artistic or not. I want it to MEAN something — your canvas without a case. I want it to be thoughtful and sweet and a little old-fashioned. I want it to be like the opposite of Tinder. Does that still exist? EXCELLENT! We are in business.)

Anyway. Lonely looks like a single sock, left in the washer. Or a dining room table, with only one plate. (And a silver fork, which I’ll have to wash by hand.)

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Lonely tastes like a peppermint — this afternoon at least. Red and white striped, and soft. Soft enough that it can’t be cracked and chewed. Maybe I’ll wait for it to melt. Or maybe I’ll eat this one that one and another one, in quick succession. Who knows.

If you asked me what Lonely feels like, I’d say it feels like forever.

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That is, of course, patently untrue. Or I sincerely hope it is, anyway. I’m really hoping there’s something better, biding its time, right around the corner.

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This could be wishful thinking, but I’m hoping for a grand flip-flop. Don’t you think Good Days should be most days? I think so, too. My current pattern is more like 12-14 Bad Days, followed by 1 Good Day.

I wonder about your Good Days. What are they like? What do you do?

Yesterday I didn’t have a good day, exactly, but I did have a good hour. (We’re just going to work our way up, to whole days. Then whole weeks! You just wait and see.)

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This good hour — I spent the majority of it on a mat, looking up at a very nice ceiling. Occasionally over to a row of stained glass windows.

(How do you feel about stained glass? I want it in my house. All those splashy little squares of sunlight! Except I’d have to buy the sun, too. The Pacific Northwest: The Things They Don’t Tell You, Volume I.)

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I didn’t go to church, if that’s what you’re thinking. I went to yoga. Very, very reluctantly. And now? At the danger of becoming a body-mind-soul person: oh. 

And then: OH! MORE YOGA PANTS! LULULEMON — LET’S LOOK!!

Disclaimer: I’m not a complete convert. (Yet. Inserted for my exceptionally bendy friends.) And this class that I went to? It wasn’t my first. I’ve tried a few before, here and there, but I’ve always been very relieved to resume my usual routine.

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As far as workouts go, I’d still prefer to go for a long loop in the woods. Or sweat it out at the gym. But I’m beginning to think there might be something awfully nice about going to yoga. Maybe yoga too. Maybe in the late afternoon, when it’s still too early to think about what’s for sides.

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I like the stretching, at yoga. I like the space, the music, the teacher. The possibility for friends, too, but the teacher, especially. This one is so gentle. Gentle-but-strong. She has a nice way of helping me remember to breathe. But it’s not just that. I like the things she says. Even though I don’t understand half of it. It’s okay, because this is what I hear: Relax. And this is what I understand: Accept. And do you know what really resonates, for me? Forgive. 

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These are good things to take in, I think. Particularly for a hyper-anxious person. A hyper-anxious person with depression and an eating disorder. I think that there’s a possibility that yoga might be able to help me address all three.

It’s been so long since someone has touched me; so long since I’ve been made aware of my own body. But yesterday I touched all 10 of my toes, and when I rested my head on the mat, I got the strangest sense that someone had given my forehead a kiss. It made me feel a little silly, but good, too. Cared for. 

Those 60 minutes? They were mostly good. Mostly happy. Maybe it was the music that was just a little sad? Or maybe it was me, when the teacher told us to unclench our jaws. Maybe it was me, when I parted my lips and felt exactly like a baby bird, waiting to be fed.

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