Opening to the Present

pink flower with water droplets opening in the sun

{This post was originally published on September 27, 2010. It’s part of a series I’ll be re-sharing here about my journey toward myself through yoga.}

I approached the studio with sweaty palms and a pounding heart. Part of that was out of nerves and part of it was because I’d spent the last 30 minutes circling the same nine square blocks looking for a parking spot and was certain I was going to be late to my first yoga teacher training weekend. Thankfully, I’d gotten the time wrong and was actually 27 minutes early.

I signed in, picked up my manual and found a spot on the floor in the alcove with a few other early arrivals. They were younger and thinner than me, probably fitter with more yoga experience, as well. Some of the women were in small groups chatting. It appeared they knew each other and the thought that there were already cliques forming gave rise to a bit of anxiety. Would I fit in here? Could I really do this? Was I ready for what lay ahead?

We rolled out our mats along the walls of the studio, all 35 of us—34 women and one man of varying ages, sizes, shapes and backgrounds—facing one another and the center of the room. And that’s how we started. No introductions, no stories, no preparation. We jumped right in.

Standing at the top of our mats, inhaling and raising our arms. Urdhva Hastasana. Folding forward, exhaling. Uttanasana. Lifting halfway up on the inhale, backs flat. Ardha Uttanasana. Placing hands down, stepping back into high plank and exhaling into Chaturanga Dandasana. Inhaling, sliding chests forward, opening our hearts. Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. Lifting hips and pressing chests back on the exhale. Adho Mukha Svanasana. Bending knees, looking forward to our hands, and inhaling, floating feet forward, back flat. Ardha Uttanasana. Exhaling, folding again into Uttanasana. Sweeping arms up, inhaling and looking to our fingers. Urdhva Hastasana. Pressing palms together, exhaling and lowering them to our hearts.

Arriving at Samastitihi. Equal standing.

And that’s exactly how it felt. Nine breaths putting us all on solid, level ground. Nine breaths linking us all together. Nine breaths and I knew this: I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Breathing. Moving. Here. Now. Opening up to my present, and whatever it has to offer.

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