“I started Yoga last week,” Jan informed the Soupster, dipping a chunk of sourdough bread into a bowl of steaming chowder. “Thought I’d better get into shape for summer before it’s over,” she added with a chuckle.
“Manage to get yourself tied up in any knots?” the Soupster asked.
“Funny you should ask,” Jan said. “It all started when Kai, our instructor, suggested that we ‘stretch our tail bones away from our sit bones and bring our kidneys towards our ribs.’”
“What?” the Soupster asked, eyebrows raised.
“Exactly,” Jan said. “I started to panic. Everything got blurry, Kai’s smile seemed to become a smirk and his voice started to sound ‘echoey’ – you know, like that effect they use in the movies to convey altered states of consciousness.”
“Hmm. Kai’s instructions sound like a brain teaser,” the Soupster empathized. “It reminds me of that thing where you have to pat your head and rub your stomach at the same time, which I can do. I can even switch half way and do the opposite.”
Jan laughed. “I was still trying to figure out where my kidneys were when I noticed that the others were ‘bringing their hearts towards the wall’ and ‘allowing their necks to become long and soft.’ I quickly turned to face the wall, and the paint job caught my eye. I deepened my focus, trying to figure out whether the colors consisted of blue on purple, or purple on blue, and whether the effect had been achieved by ragging or sponging.”
“Come to any conclusions?” the Soupster asked.
“Never had time. Suddenly, Kai called for Tadasana or ‘The Mountain Pose’ – apparently a great beginning yoga pose. Finally, something I thought I could do.”
“‘Stand with your feet hip-width apart,’ said Kai, ‘or think of one foot, ten toes’” Jan recalled. “So I spread my feet, relaxed my knees and let my shoulders drop down. Things were going well. Visions of myself – a yoga guru in the Himalayas with a few yaks looking on in awe – came to mind. Finally, I was in the zone.”
“Kai’s voice jolted me back to reality: ‘Let your ribs close, let your vertebrae stack one on top of the other and continue to let your shoulder blades hug your back.’ The echoey voice returned and I found myself dissociating again. My thoughts drifted back to my first driving test.”
“Suddenly, it was time for a parallel park. The cones at the front represented the back of the front car and the cones at the back represented the front of the back car. My subconscious must have figured out what the instructor meant, because I passed the test.”
The Soupster laughed.
“Before long, I found myself relaxing under a colorful Mexican blanket, sacred Hindu chants and mantras dissolving my thoughts. Kai told us to observe our breathing, I’d made it through. I was alive and well. Very well. Calm, present and accepting.”
– Submitted by Lois Verbaan Denherder