Few things get me out of bed at 5 a.m. Catching planes and nursing newborns are pretty much my only reasons for ever doing it, but now there’s something else – early morning yoga on Wednesdays. The class doesn’t start till 6, but I like to ease into my day. This morning, I crept downstairs through the blackness, enjoyed a banana muffin with a cup of Earl Grey while scribbling down some thoughts in my diary, then stepped outside into the still-dark morning, said hello to the creepy gigantic spiders who have set up shop beside the front door, and drove to the other side of town for yoga.
This morning there were only two other students, plus our teacher Karly. In the murky light of the CrossFit gym, we spread out our yoga mats and laid back to prepare ourselves while breathing in the now-familiar, and even pleasant, smell of rubber floors, metal plates, and old sweat. In that moment, the gym, which is usually full of gasping, panting, pounding feet, and slamming bars, metamorphoses into a peaceful cocoon of calm. The tall pull-up bars stand guard over our bodily contortions like eerie sentinels and the gymnastics rings hang from the ceiling like bizarre, modern sculptures. The digital clock in the back casts a faint red haze as I stare at various parts of the room from different perspectives based on the position of my body.
As Karly starts the class, she tells us to set an intention for the day. I think hard, not sure what to pick, before settling on patience. I will strive to be more patient with my children today. Karly must understand the stiffness in my body. We move slowly, stretching lightly, getting progressively more intense. At first I can’t flatten my feet or straighten my knees during Downward Dog, but as the hour creeps by, I feel flexibility returning. She tells us to stretch a leg upward and I hear a collective snap, crackle, pop in all of our hip joints as we move into a new position. It’s almost funny, but I swallow my giggle before it ruins the mood. From all fours, I stretch one leg straight back and the opposite arm forward. Slowly, following Karly’s instructions, I reach around behind and clasp my foot, struggling to balance because my equilibrium is a bit off this early in the morning.
For an hour we bend, sway, stretch, hold, twist, reach, and lean. Each movement seems subtle, yet the combined effect of all of them leaves me feeling exhilarated. I collapse into shavasana, the resting pose at the end, aware of my skin tingling, my heart beating, and my breath coursing through my body. I lie there for four glorious minutes, willing it never to end. Karly comes by, lifts my legs, and gently swings them from side to side. When it’s time to start wiggling life back into my fingertips, it takes every ounce of willpower to move because I want to lie there for another hour.
When I arrive home at 7 a.m., I feel energized. I greet my happy little boys with joy and enthusiasm, ready to face the day with patience alongside their own inexhaustible energy.