I took a second practice today, a 90 minute hot vinyasa Baptiste class. Completely new environment; new studio, new city. The room was small and hot. I found a spot and the room was dark, however, MariCruz walked in and flipped on bright lights. Exposing my too big thighs in my too short shorts. I was face to face with my belly in the mirror, with my love handles spilling out the side/top of my shorts. It was intimidating, to be sharing my physical presence with absolute strangers.
Would they judge this chubby girl? “Could she know what she is doing? Surely this is her first class ever, not just here.” The mind was difficult to quiet.
But we started to flow. Through Surya A and my chatrungas were strong. Through Surya B and I rose with ease to virabadrasana A. Taking utkatasana mindfully with lifted toes. Wild thing came as a treat. Crow was a difficult challenge. Uttitha Hast – YES! I even took a little pull in and fold. Warrior 3! Half Moon! Yes, Yes! Twists with binds – in each direction.
The mind chatter changed. “I am strong. I am flexible This is my practice and I honor what my body can do.”
We took camel, not once but twice – and neither time did my heart try to escape through my throat. Upwards facing bow made me smile as I lifted my heart, offering it to myself in the mirror. Finishing series brought modified bridge, followed by six S-I-X six (!) sets of wheel. Shoulder stand was strong, tall, with a lot of support from my arms, my chatarunga training arms. Our savasana was sweet and well earned. Just as I was drifting away to thoughts of the “real world” a train sounded. It reminded me where I was, a block away from Route 66, my Route 66, just many miles down the road. MariCruz read Wild Geese by Mary Oliver and I almost cried from smiling so hard.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
Coming out of savasana, cuddled in fetal position on my mat, I knew all was right.
I am exactly where I should be, doing exactly what I should be doing.
Even though I doubt myself, I am on the right path. Tonight was a perfect example of this. I had a lot of self-doubt in class, but I took deep breaths, I moved my body and I did my practice. And though it is not perfect, it actually doesn’t even have to be, it just has to be my practice, from the heart. Sharing a bit of myself, with myself and those around me. Moving and living and loving, just as I am.