One Saturday Morning in Ditmas Park

Derek led us through some warm-up stretches, the usual cat and cow. Then some Surya Namaskaras, despite the drizzle and Surya remaining M.I.A. Our teacher talked us through side angle bend, and straightening our front legs and extending our torsos into triangles. “Imagine you are doing this stretch in the space between your refrigerator and the wall. Make your body perfectly aligned, perfectly all on one plane.” I liked that idea and adjusted my hips, trying to manifest it. I hoped Derek would teach at Third Root again. “Remember, it’s a practice,” I think he said. Something about how you have to keep trying, and do as much as you can but not more. And not desiring more, just letting your body be how it is, where it is, today. Usual yoga teacher things.

Occasionally the volume of the chattering outside would increase, and our teacher would remind us to find the compassion. Why, I wondered, did we need to find so much compassion? It’s a neighborhood healing center. They’re our neighbors, congregating. But I pushed my body into the stretches and forced my mind to focus on my breath and not on anything else. I was there to stretch. 

Read the whole essay here.


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