Namaste, dammit!

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My husband and children beg me to go to yoga. If ever I’m wavering about whether or not to go to class, I can count on a chorus of earnest entreaties, urging me to go, please, please, for the love of God, you should really GO! I know full well they only want me to go, because I’m usually so much nicer and maybe slightly less high strung when I come back. In the spirit of the meditative and transcendent practice of yoga, I try to register only gratitude for their concern, and not feel too offended by their desperate eagerness to get me to go.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had a chance to go to yoga. The children’s school and activities have started up, and we’re still getting used to the schedule. Getting everyone to where they need to be always involves some impossibly complicated choreography, which can include stints at neighbors’ houses, help from babysitters, meeting up in parking lots to trade off children, drop-offs by one parent, and pick-ups by another.

“So who am I driving or picking up today?” I asked my husband yesterday when I got home from work.

“I’ll take the kids to soccer and violin and I’ll just stay in Crozet and pick them both up when they’re done,” my husband generously offered, “You go do yoga. It will do you good.”

As I drove along I-64 on my way to the gym, I saw three or four fire trucks and some police cars racing in the opposite direction. They were heading toward Crozet, where my husband should have been picking up my son and daughter…that is, unless he’d been involved in the huge accident or the raging fire to which all of those vehicles were now headed.

I pulled into the parking lot of the gym and tried to call my husband. He didn’t answer. While this happens all the time, this time his failure to pick up his phone obviously meant that he was lying in a ditch in Crozet somewhere. Meanwhile, my kids were waiting to be picked up and were wondering why their dad wasn’t showing up to get them. My life as a widow unfolded before me. In my mind’s eye, I could see a split screen. On one side, I was lying in a darkened yoga studio, snoring gently away in full-on savasana; on the other side, my husband was lying on a stretcher, about to be rushed off to the hospital. I was thinking about my poor, dear, possibly dead husband, of course I was. But I was also thinking about how unseemly and embarrassing it would be for me to have been doing yoga, while he had been bleeding out on the road. “And it would really be all his fault,” I reasoned to myself unreasonably, “Because he forced me to go to yoga! But I wouldn’t be able to yell at him, because he’d be dead…” I imagine you’re getting a pretty clear picture as to why my family feels that yoga is so very essential to my existence.

Waves of enlightenment repeatedly washed over me throughout the class: I should not be here. I am truly a terrible person. I’m also really, really hungry. Also? I have the patience of a chipmunk. I’m going to be an old woman by the time this pigeon pose ends. When the instructor announced in a hushed and breathy voice that we would hold the pose for just one more minute, I immediately started counting in my head: “ONE Mississippi, TWO Mississippi.” An elderly woman rudely interrupted my countdown to complain that the pose was hurting her shoulder. I was outraged. The instructor had already explained how to modify the pose by lying on one’s back. I was even more outraged when the instructor slowly, deliberately walked up to her and very sweetly suggested a whole catalogue of other poses she might try. My inner hissy fit sounded something like this: “HELLO? have you forgotten about the rest of us poor sods whose ligaments are ripping away from our bones as we hold pigeon pose for one more minute plus a year?!” I popped up like a jackrabbit as soon as savasana was over. Any benefit that I may have gained from the practice drained away as I drove home, listening to the news on the radio about Ebola, Ukraine, and ISIS. The final blow was the drag racers who roared past as they weaved around my car and others.

I pulled into our driveway. I noted with relief that my husband’s car was in its usual spot. My children were safely tucked away in bed. I was home. Another day done. Namaste.

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