It’s three minutes to 4 and I’m in a basement on Main street, stretching. For 11 days straight, I’m attending a 3-hour yoga class. 4am, I should add. I’ll be upfront – I have time to sleep. Some get a paycheck, writers get naps.
The course instructor is legit. Less stereotype hippie, more qualified person. Mid-fifties dude, no dreadlocks, no ankle-bells; with the confidence he exudes, put this guy in office attire and you’d think he owned the place.
At roughly 4000 square feet, the room is huge, and there is plenty of space to move. We do a brief warm up, and really get going with a stretch. Seated, legs in front, we lean over as if to touch our toes, and, without straining, hold the position. For thirty minutes.
You remain seated, you remain leaning forward, your arms remain on your legs (scratch your nose if you must), you remain convinced it’s worth it as every muscle in your body fights your will power.
Lean back. Roll over. Tuck your knees in. Go home. Accept yourself as you are. Get some sleep, I think. Or, instead embark on something, well, beyond.
I chose beyond, hanging in for what seems like, honestly, only nine minutes. Music (worthy stuff) helps the half-hour pass.
The goal is to focus on tensions, and work through them. I peek through squinted sleep-ready eyelids to see others with their foreheads touching their shins and notice I’m lucky to have one hand pass my kneecap.
We hold another pose for 30 minutes. For two days, it was the Lion.
With knees down as wide as possible, big toes touching and crossed, heels spread to form a seat, I ease my weight down, set my hands on the floor to balance. Wrists turned out, I flat-palm the ground beside my knees, thumbs tucked and resting beside my legs. Curl my tongue back, open my eyes, look up between the eyebrows, with head held proud I breathe through my nose, and wait.
With roughly two minutes remaining, we’re asked to stick our tongues out, and holler. All that needs releasing, sounds of joy, grief, pain, calls to a loved one echo in the dawn hush.
A clock beeps, and we raise our wrists like Egyptian mummies, easing back onto floor mats. Hard part over.
My wrists buzz like a bumblebee choir, one that grows louder as I spread my arms, softening to a hum as I lie still. This, friends, is what people talk of when saying money can’t buy everything.