I wake up at 5am and while I wait for the coffee to brew, I do a yoga pose. Not so much to do yoga, because yoga’s been torturing me for years and I’m sick of it. I do the pose to celebrate my kitchen floor. It’s so clean.
I do a sun salutation and push back on my hands to downward dog. I spread my fingers on the smooth wood floor. And as my head hangs I see the gleam of the grain in morning light. I think maybe I should have our housecleaner come twice a week.
I pour coffee and there’s no sugar because every night I put the sugar on a high up shelf to remind myself that I don’t want to be eating sugar. Then I tell myself “Fuck it–I can fill the sugar bowl.” Great. I will have accessible sugar.
Reaching for the sugar feels good, so I do the next pose in the Ashtanga series: Twisting triangle. I have been doing yoga for twenty-five years and still don’t know the Sanskrit names for poses.
I sit at the dining room table with sugary coffee. And milk. I added milk. So I’m basically having coffee ice cream for breakfast. I search the Internet for pictures of signs in NYC that have the new font.
Did you know there’s a new font for street signs? For the last 60 years the font for street signs has been the one sign painters used. It’s easy to paint large with a brush. When machines started making signs, we had the machines keep using the paint brush font. But there are easier fonts to read, and there would be fewer accidents if people could read signs more easily.
I cannot find any pictures. And my legs feel so good from twisting triangle that I do the next pose. Which I don’t even know the English name for.
I do know the series, though. And I don’t mind that it takes me a little longer to get into the pose than it used to. I’m doing it. I breathe.
Then I find the new font. I inspect it. Lowercase letters are good for reading because we see words as shapes. Like China Town Next Exit. And the lower case letters that have holes in them go a little bit above the line. The e’s in Bleecker Street take more vertical space than we would typically permit because bigger holes are easier to see.
I get up to get more coffee and I’m on a roll. I do Parsvakonasana. So I do know some names. It hurts the good kind of hurt and I take a few extra breaths in the pose which I don’t think I have ever done in my life because I hate doing yoga so I am always the fastest breathe and the first one to finish.
My son wakes up. This is why I stopped getting up early in the morning to do anything. Because I get all excited about my aloneness and then a kid wakes up.
I say, “Sweetie, are you okay?” He clomps down the stairs. He says he can’t sleep. He asks if he can sleep in the guest room. I say of course and tuck him in. He asks if I will stay in the room while he falls back to sleep. Right before I say some motherly version of “No, I don’t fucking want to sit with you because I already did it last night and once is enough and this is my alone time,” I kiss him and say, “Sure. I’ll be right here.” I do a pose while I wait. I accidentally skip a pose.
After he’s asleep, I make another sugar milk coffee. I write a note for the kids: “Remember today we are bedding down pigs after practice.” I write in cursive and consider rewriting it. It’s a dying art. Me writing cursive is like my first editor typing two spaces after a period.
I leave the cursive note. Maybe my kids will learn to read cursive. Maybe that’ll differentiate them on their college applications. Not that they need something else because I gave them my ex-husband’s Latino last name for that. And, anyway, no one needs cursive anymore. It’s like paintbrush street signs.
I heat up the milk because I like it scalding hot. I do the the next pose, then a sun salutation and then I’m back with my hands on the floor looking at the smooth cleanness and I see some specks of rice cake. So I balance on one hand, and eat them with the other.
My second cup of coffee is so hot I have to sip. I read that people who are abused frequently like things scalding hot – like a bath. And I read that people with Aspergers have sensory processing disorder that makes them not feel hot and/or cold like normal people. I am always wondering which one is the explanation for the scars on my arms where I’ve burned myself because I didn’t feel the heat.
I do the missed pose. Then I am standing in tadasana.
I think about my grandma. I stole books from her store. At the time, I told myself that I stole them because she didn’t pay me enough to work there. But now I understand that I stole them to try to feel more loved. My grandma let me live with her, but I always wished I could have stayed with my parents. Her love could never make up for my parents’ lack of love.
I do another pose. My feet lift and legs stretch and so many people will tell you “yoga saved me” and what they are really saying is when it was too hard to feel their heart, they felt their body and their breath, and we can only feel as much as we can handle but you have to feel something to live.
I am getting back into the order now. I do another seated pose. I do not miss my grandma so much as I miss the feeling of missing her. I have been feeling my body instead of my heart for so long. As a way to cope.
I have spent years writing on this blog about how I don’t have time for yoga. Or I don’t have energy for yoga. I wrote that I have to pick between kids and yoga. Or work and yoga. Or marriage and yoga.
But each time I was disappointing myself with my yoga practice, I was still doing it. You don’t need to do continuous yoga to do it. You don’t need to do yoga the same way you did five, ten, or fifteen years ago.
Yoga is like work. I’ve been obsessing about the lingo and trying to stave off change. I thought there were rules for how to be good at it. I thought I had to be doing a certain amount in order to do justice to all my training. But I can do bits and pieces in between the demands of my everyday life. And that’s enough for where I am right now.