In retrospect, the day started off above average. I slept in, by my standards, which still involves rising at an inhumane hour, classes ran smoothly, and lunch came before I had reached the point of longing for it. Even though I usually view the time after lunch as a long stretch with nothing to look forward to, I left lunch feeling pretty optimistic I was going to have a good day.

Well, by two o’clock I had lost track of the times I had blown my top. My shoulders, which for the first time all week weren’t screaming in pain, had found their way back up to their usual position behind my ears. This week has been long, I’ve felt overwhelmed. I haven’t slept well, laying awake at night fighting the feeling that I can’t keep all the balls in the air. I thought today, with the extra half hour of sleep, might be the day to break the spell. Not so.

Perhaps today was not the best day to cap off my evening with a yoga class that is more advanced than what I am used to” I have been trying to begin a practice of yoga, mostly because after seven years of long distance running my body only knows how to do one thing anymore. I could take or leave the spiritual aspect of it, but the stretching and contorting are right up my alley.

The “moderate” hot yoga class was as challenging as I expected. I was dripping my trademark face sweat from about ten minutes in, and there were more than a few times I thouught I might need to hatch an escape plan. Even though I am supposed to just “focus on the breath”, at one point I thought to myself that this was a sure sign of some emotional maturity, because in another life I would have run from that room in embarrassment.

When things cooled down at the end, and we did whatever Sanskrit word means “lay on the ground and think about your life”, my mind wandered again. Rather than focusing on whatever emotional baggage the teacher suggested I exhale, I started thinking about dinner. Then I started thinking about food in general, then the big store membership my parents bought me, then trips to the grocery with my mom, my dad, my brother, my boyfriend, and I thought about how very lucky I am not just to have food and health and things, but to have people. My body relaxed into the mat and I focused on that greatest lesson I learned from my mother, that happiness is not having many people love you but having many people to love. Namaste, indeed.

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