by Eva van Dok
I’m going to be brazen here and personify my yoga practice. For the purpose of this story, the practice will be a He, as he has been my most loyal companion for 9 years. My husband understands this relationship and has accepted it.
Like any good companion, my practice has both grounded and eluded me, often at the exact same time for an entire class. He’s confusing and liberating, and gives me incessant joy when I don’t try to outsmart him with what I do not yet know. He’s a bit otherworldly, definitely, because he speaks to the part of me that I battle against. He tries to communicate with my witness self, the place that still is nestled behind my ego and pops out once every few months, or few years, or few lifetimes. This makes me happy one day and angry the next, yet he asks that I be neither of those things and also asks that I don’t strive to be neither of those things. He asks me to just Be, and expect nothing from the next moment other than to just Be again.
I definitely get heady with my lover, and I complain to him about my scoliotic spine, my year of both tragedy and extreme joy, and my hamstrings that just won’t…well, they just won’t. He tells me to just do the practice, just keep doing it, even when I can’t feel whether or not I’m teetering to one side or the other in a headstand or despair that my body has no idea how to interpret downward dog after all these years.
Mainly he reminds me that my yoga practice is not my asana practice, and when it becomes only that, as it is wont to do, he kindly says of the house that holds my soul, “Tsk, tsk, tsk, your body changes on you every day..every moment..every second. Why focus on such a fair-weather friend?”
I know you are wondering if we fight. We do. He always wins and I always give in, as in this particular relationship, he does know best, as he’s been around for thousands and thousands of years (although still quite handsome).
This is a relationship from the 1950’s. When I bow to him, he gives me gifts. But, dammit, when I go to grab the gift, he throws it into the air, and I can’t reach it. So of course, that keeps me coming back for more.