“You will need these blocks. No, no. Beneath the shoulders. This one, your hip.”
She taps my waist without permission, and suddenly I’m suspended on blocks in a pose I used to be familiar with–one I could do by myself–but now I’m pilloried by Styrofoam bricks. It’s a bad day when your yoga instructor has seemingly forgotten that breath is the most important thing and instead positions your legs and arms A, B, & C; when she positions you like a wayward starfish in a recessed tide, and you’re left holding your air in a darkened studio.
My wife does a headstand against the mirror. She used to be a hundred pounds heavier, a weight which has somehow transferred its molecules to this part of me which doesn’t show its gain, but sits heavy regardless.
We change poses and the instructor is relentless. She slides a metal chair my direction because she thinks my Downward Dog is somehow inaccurate. All I want to do is breathe, so I can continue breathing, but she keeps making me stop. My diaphragm holds a hitch and I try not to cry. We’re not in Child’s pose after all. Can we just Shivasna already?
She positions my hands on the chair, and it’s embarrassing. She murmurs, half to herself, “You’re not having a good day,” which is superfluous because she’s having me plank on a folding chair, telling me to straighten out when one look at my spine would inform her that I’m completely and irreparably crooked.
“Better?” she asks.
How do I say, ‘no.’
At the front of the class, Ann demonstrates a perfect and unsupported headstand, a straight and poised line, and I want to be her for just a second, in order to feel some sort of alignment, which my body can’t seem to handle at present.
I draw up a plan to somehow survive this class; I draw up a plan, and it takes me a few days to find my breath, but part of the plan requires not quitting.