I have lived many lives.
Childhood and motherhood. Married life and divorced life. Career girl and stay-at-home mom. Head of a full house and head of an empty nest.
Each life requires a transformation of sorts; some kind of shake up.
In moving from one life to another, I am able to look back over my shoulder to see where I have been, and how far I have come.
Transformation is BIG!
That is, until I found yoga.
In yoga, I experience small transformations that are impactful all the same. In yoga, I arrive at class in one state of mind and body and leave in another.
I work closely with a man who served in the Special Forces as a Green Beret and, in his terminology, my Monday, Wednesday and Friday wake up hour is called 0’Dark 30 – before sunrise.
I wake up in the dark three days a week so I can be on the mat for a 6 a.m. yoga class.
In general, mornings are pretty easy for me, but often they can arrive too soon.
Some mornings, I find my way back into bed – yoga clothes, coffee and all -- not once, but twice, before leaving the house.
Other mornings might follow a middle-of-the-night phone call from one of my adult children on the way home from someplace late.
The O’Dark 30 wake up call does not allow for much time beforehand in gaining perspective; there is no day under my belt before arriving at class. There is only time to get up and go, and I arrive in whatever state of mind and body in which I roll out of bed.
On such mornings, the instructor often dims the lights before starting the music.
This morning, I trickle in with the other 6 a.m.’ers, lay out my mat and put up my hair. The class sits in unusual quiet; there is no usual morning chatter as we wait for instructions as to how to begin, with me hoping to start on our backs and ease into the practice with various stretches.
But today we start in Boat.
Boat is one of my most dreaded poses.
Sitting on the tailbone, the body forms a “V”, legs together and stretched out in front, torso doing the same in the opposite direction. The heart is forward, the stomach is in --
belly button to spine,
in the words of the instructor
– and the arms are extended.
Torture! We unfold, our bodies flattening out just inches above the mat, and then we rise into a “V” once more.
We do this again, and again, and again, engaging the entire body from head to toe.
Following Boat, we stay on the floor to do some stretches and twists, my favorite being the one where one leg is placed over the other with the knee up, while the one underneath tucks in. The body twists in the opposite direction, and the hands wind between the legs, grasping to form a bind.
From the hips down, the body faces forward while the torso twists with the head looking back over the shoulder.
During these twists, I like to look out the windows at the top of the back wall.
As yet, I cannot see out; it is still dark.
We move into several flows and sequences, hitting most all of the poses we have been taught. The class moves quickly for me and, by the end, I am completely energized, my mind and body awake for the day.
Before our final resting pose of Savasana, we twist again.
I look back over my shoulder and, this time, the windows behind me are well lit.
The sun has come up; the day has begun, and I am transformed.