If you think back to where you started, you can always find the joy in where you are.
This is how the instructor opened the morning’s yoga class.
This instructor is such a young man, and I can’t figure out how he has such insights at half my age.
This is what my grandmother always told me, he said.
Interestingly enough, that morning, I had awakened thinking about how far I had NOT come. All I could think of was how STUCK I was, and the day hadn’t even started.
How did I wake up stuck?
On my more enlightened days, I know I have journeyed many miles and have much to show for it. But that morning, the light wasn’t really on, and I almost got stuck in the bed.
I made some coffee, which flipped the switch, put on my yoga clothes and headed out.
It’s funny, but the route I take to yoga always makes me think about my starting point or, really, a few starting points.
I grew up where I now live, and to get to yoga, I have to drive almost the whole way alongside the water, next to the canal that’s next to the river.
It’s a straight shot and always takes me down memory lane.
It’s a spring-like day, even though it was not yet mid-March, and the river is unusually calm and green. I open my sunroof and turn on the radio. The music, the sun and the river brighten this day’s light all the more.
As a little girl, I would climb the rocks at the river on family outings, just a little ways up from where my drive starts.
I remember the rocks being so huge and feeling so big when I reached the top. I also remember finding long sticks with my brother and sister and being so proud when mine was the tallest, as if I myself had grown as tall as the stick. We’d search for flat rocks and skip them forever, counting the pops off the water.
I was little, and the little things I was doing made me feel pretty big and overall adventurous.
Further down, I pass my old neighborhood where my children were born. There’s the restaurant from which we’d always order in, and there’s the library. The theater is now a grocery store, and there’s the post office.
I remember seeing my reflection holding hands with my daughter in that post office window. I was a very young mom, and the picture of us in the window made me feel pretty big and adventurous all over again.
I’ve taken my children to the water many times. On their last days of school during their elementary years, we’d go there to feed the geese. Many times, we’d rent canoes and paddle up the canal, or ride the barge. Once, the canal froze over, and we hopped in the car for a chance to walk on the water, in and amongst the skaters.
I arrive downtown and pass what used to be the printer’s shop where I’d often go in an old life, and I park on a little side street by the water that my now adult son earlier scouted out.
I get out of the car, look over the water and walk to the studio.
The drive alone is good for me, and so is the brief walk. It’s no surprise that I feel a connection here; the studio sits right on the water alongside the canal.
The young girl who manages the front desk is standing outside in her bare feet with her ipad.
You’re checked in, Anne, she says. I saw you at the top of the street.
I thank her and tell her I am going to sit on the wall by the canal for a bit. I’m early.
I come to yoga to get unstuck. That’s what the practice is all about, clearing the chakras (energy centers) with the asanas (postures). But, really, I think the instructor's words come true just on the ride there.
The view out the car window literally takes me to where I started, and I arrive with the joy of no longer wondering about my finish line, where it should be or why I may not have crossed it just yet.