When is a yoga studio like a baby?
Once upon a time, Thirteen and later Ten arrived in my life as infants. Together we rode the twenty-four hour marathon of nursing, diapers, sleep, and no sleep. We added in first smiles, rolling over, sitting up, solid foods, crawling, frantic baby proofing, pulling up, and—in Thirteen’s case—walking before the first birthday. And then it was time for cake. The wisdom of the day was nobody under eighteen months was supposed to eat chocolate, so I made Banana Rose Cake lightly dusted with powdered sugar.
September 28, 2012: Once again, time for cake. This time the birthday party was for ROY, who although newly one does not need the thin veil of privacy I offer my children. Quite the contrary, one of my main jobs is to shout ROY’s full name in every direction all the time: Radiant Om Yoga celebrated a whole year in existence. Some might call it an anniversary, but it felt more like a birthday to me.
I have never once asked myself, “Why did I have Thirteen and Ten?” In contrast, over the last few weeks, I won’t kid you, I have asked myself more than once, “Why did I think opening a yoga studio was a good idea?” In spite of learning volumes over the past year about business and accounting and teaching and myself, I’m tired like a new mother and I worry mightily that baby number three shifts my attention from the very real people who need me.
And then there’s a day like Wednesday. I woke easily, rested, before dawn and headed downstairs to my treadmill. Half-way through my walk, the door opened and there stood Thirteen, wrapped in a towel on his way to the shower, saying urgently enough to penetrate my headphones that Ten was, “bleeding everywhere, a lot.” I stopped the treadmill, lifted off the headphones and raced up the stairs two at a time. Ten is prone to nosebleeds, and this one had woken her up. Still sleepy she was having trouble managing it and there was an alarming amount of blood splattered around. Like spilt milk, spilt blood looks far worse than it usually is, especially when you’re barely awake.
Ten was alarmed, but I wasn’t. Just the day before I recertified in First Aid and we had covered nosebleeds. I sent Thirteen for gauze squares from my bathroom cupboard, applied pressure to both sides of Ten’s nose, held the gauze under her nostrils and asked her to hang her head over her sink. In a few breaths the blood flow stemmed and she was able to sit and rest, just occasionally dabbing her nose. I cleaned up and gathered them into my arms. Even with the unexpected emergency, we slid out the door to meet their respective school buses on time.
At the studio that morning, cars rolled up for class and the practice flowed. I used the theme preparation meets opportunity to teach—preparing the bodies on their mats so that we could take the opportunity to move into more advanced poses. The end of the practice, Savasana (corpse pose), was deep and sweet.
On a good Wednesday, I have time between classes and money to deliver to the bank. This was one of those days. Then class at my corporate location (my day job). Errands and time with my peeps after school. With Ten delivered to ballet, I headed back to the studio and tackled the beginning of Thursday’s to-do list. Is there anything sweeter than getting ahead on a task or two, lightening the load of a day yet to unfold?
Wednesday evening is community yoga night. By 5:30 the parking lot was full and I was honored to lead twenty-five people on their mats for an hour. After, a lively group gathered for what we call margaritasana. It was a good night.
When I tucked in for sleep, cozy and warm, two alarms set so I could be at Sunrise Yoga early the next morning, I reflected on the day I just lived. Years ago, I sat in my thesis advisor’s office, telling him about my first full-time teaching job offer. I said, “I feel so lucky to have a job.” He looked at me and countered, “You had to work really, really hard to get lucky.”
Today I’d use different language, but the meaning is the same. In yoga-speak, you work on your alignment, starting in the more attainable poses, Tadasana (Mountain), Uttanasana (Standing Forward Fold), Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Facing Dog), and stretch toward more advanced poses, taking into them the strength, the poise, the flexibility, the stamina, the knowledge at a cellular level in your body. You make the connections. Preparation indeed meets opportunity and sometimes, sometimes breath, mind and body navigate together and the next pose comes. And the pose—whether the full expression of the pose or a glimmer of what it will be—is a gift. On Wednesday the work I completed prepared me for the opportunities that arose on and off the mat. Some basic, some unexpected, each moment felt right. My birthday baby ROY and my two perfect children, nosebleed panic and all, gave me all of the gifts.
ROY’s birthday party and the full harvest moon, which I went chasing in the convertible with the top down and my mother riding shotgun, were the first delays for this post. After that it’s been a little like a Robert Frost poem, “way leads onto way.” But here I am late & grateful, thanking you for reading. As ever, Rxo