The cool air near to the floor might be kissing my palms, but I still feel the ghost of fingers entwined like that chainlink fence I’ll be walking past, if I choose to pause, sip my coffee and remember how that moment would have befit a cigarette, before I continue to walk uptown to start the greater portion of the day. Ashtanga practice. There is solitude weighing heavily on my chest, yet union in the room with other yogis, all in different poses, at different levels, turning the room into a rising city of human architecture, shining with the sweat produced by pure body heat.
I am supine and know I should be quieting the mind, but today it leapfrogs over one thought to the next. “That’s what the mind does, it thinks,” echoes in my ears as if my former yoga teacher were telling me this now in her calm, clear voice. I picture Virbhadrasana I, the push of palm to palm, raised overhead in a triumphant pose, and it gives me the strength to lie still and calm the rhythm of breathing, bringing it back to something deep and low and grounded. I’m a survivor. I’m a warrior.
Shifting my body weight to my hands, the slick wood floor supports me, kindly. My hands barely graze one another, lightly, as I seal the practice, and rise. Ashtanga. It’s familiar, yet different, inspiring a veritable cacophony of emotion, the harmony to which is formed of my own beating heart and chords of ujaii breathing in the room.
My fingers wrap around my water bottle’s unsympathetic metal; “why am I angry?”, I wonder as water slides down my throat. I barely sweat today. I barely sweat most days. Empty hands are first soothed by the metal of my rings sliding on to their appropriate digits, and then the warm cup of coffee I pick up from the counter.
I push open the glass door, hand suspended flat and impossible, and leave.
“I didn’t need these things. I didn’t need them.”