Winter is coming and the toasty embrace of the studio beckons.
The outside chill evaporates before my mat hits the ground.
My sticky-bottomed towel has lost its grip but that’s okay,
Emerging sweat will help it hold me steady like mother’s hands.

Every action from the week is with me as my body joins the floor
Every bag of groceries, every computer issue, every second I hold my daughter aloft
Decisions made and battles fought flutter through my head like a flip book
But as the teacher says her “hellos” the book is closed; the door is closed

Now, it’s me and my body.

Tight legs and hips make my Sun Salutations wobble as I reach for the ceiling,
Each chatturanga is a test my upper body must navigate.
But, ah! The deliverance of that first upward facing dog,
It’s arc breaking apart many hours of hunching forward.

The sweat streams from my forehead as the pace quickens,
Energy from neighboring bodies guide my flow when the fatigue arrives.
Is it my t-rex arms or my tight shoulders that prevent me from binding?
I reach for a strap to make my Bird of Paradise fly.

My tree sways, my airplane bobbles, my dancer begins to lurch,
Each move revealing legs that wish to remain together on earth.
My breath and concentration remain constant
Broken only by the magic of a joke unintentionally told – a moment unexpected and welcome.

Where is my water bottle? Where are my props?
I used to fly without these things. Now, I reach for them with little thought.
Inwardly, I sigh for the body I left behind years ago.
The monkey mind is dancing on my doorstep, waiting to come in.

But I still have this moment where my breath is King
Where my mind marinates in heat and nothing else.
It is the gift I give myself every time I get here,
It is the pause I dream of when I cannot.

One thought slips through – the remembrance of my early practice.
Every class baking the love of beauty, discipline, and good abs deep within me.
The dance of my youth came alive in those classes
A dance I hope lives within me still.

We arrive on the ground for the final resting pose and I revel in completion.
My brain whispers “Good God” as I surrender to the puddle beneath me.
I know that the moment will come when I will have to gather my things and leave
But, for now, I’ll lie in my sweat and dream of dancing once more.