Walking into the room dimly lit with candle light and little white Christmas lights strung on the beams over head, I keep my eyes focused at the floor. The yoga mat I bought a year and a half ago during the training that was to make me a certified yoga teacher is rolled out in a swift crack of my wrist and a soft towel is carefully placed and dampened with peppermint and lavender scented water to prevent slipping in the sweat that is already starting to glow under the infrared heat lamps oppressive heat.
I lay on my back, inhaling the soft smell of incense and candle wax. Indian music softly fills the background as I hear feet with invisible faces enter the room around me. I listen for my breath. Somehow I can find it here even when its presence is elusive everywhere else. Somehow....I can hear my heart beating without choking under the reality that while it beats, "theirs" never will again. ever.
I look for my breath again...squelching the thoughts that are always trying to pound into my brain. Endless thoughts. breathe. breathe. breathe.
Her voice, like a butterfly's wings enters my mind. She reminds me to breathe, to find my core...to remember why I'm here. To remember why we are all here. Each one of us, here, at the butt-crack of dawn (or so my young teen would say...) for a reason known only to each of us....and to her.
Standing in mountain. The postures begin. The heat demanding solid breath. Not the little shallow breaths that one can get away with on any normal day. The heat DEMANDS solid breath. Breathe...or die. It laughs at the streams of water gliding down my forehead as I try to find stillness in the pose. Stillness. As my heart pounds and my breath....IS.
And then, there is a thought...I lose my focus, my breath. and my balance. Her voice gently reminds me to pull my breath in, to find my core balance....yes....there it is.....yes.....her hands guide me deeper, reminding me of what I used to be able to do. A lifetime ago. In the before time. She knows....because, she knew me then. She knows it all. She knows how I came to be the me I am today....
Her touch reminds me that there is love. friendship. hope. A reason for BE-ing....right now. The lump in my throat begs to release in sobs....and then, the breath soothes it again. There it is. The breath.
The breath they will never have. I am breathing for them. For all time.
Stillness. Corpse pose. Wet with the tears released by my body due to melting heat and deepening yoga postures. Always deepening. Always finding more depth. More breath. Was I ever really GOOD at yoga? Did I actually think I'd be able to teach this ability to balance? I watch myself teeter in the mirror...finding stillness. And breath.
The heat feels like God. Like golden fields and sunbeams. Penetrating blocked pores and....thoughts.
They really WERE here.....once. They really DID exist....once. They were my babies......always.
Her warm hands reach under my head, cradling it as skilled fingers massage and nurture...ever reminding me to forgive myself....to love myself.
I lay there until I feel ready. Till the silence is all I hear. Till the "others" have left.
I roll up my sopping wet towel and mat....drink all 7 cups of water that my bottle contains....and walk toward the door. Her voice reaches me..."Have a beautiful day Sara..." I look up and a smile finds my face. "Thank you" I say...and then I whisper..."for helping me to find myself." She doesn't know that I believe she may be an angel. She doesn't know I think of this place as my holy place. Or...maybe she does. Maybe she sees it in my face...or in the fact that I arrive every day without fail. Every day. To find my breath again. To find stillness of thought.
She nods with warmth in her eyes and begins to mop the floor of her studio. And I leave my new found healing place to begin another day with smiling children, furry pups, devoted husband, memories of golden fields where my twins wait for me to live until I die....and I find the words waiting for me to write them down....and I try to find the breath until I can go back into the heat. Looking for the breath.