Writing Practice – “To Connect With….”
“It’s practice, not perfect,” the instructor says as we contract our bodies for another thirty seconds. Folding in, we compress ourselves. The imperceptible space between the moist skin and the humid infused envelope of 105-degree air that we twist and lean into — vanishes. We practice, pushing the musculature back to a state of cartilage. My focus switches from the instructor’s step-by-step chatter to a dualistic inquiry of the reflection, seemingly separate from me in the 10’ mirrored wall. A seam between the giant glass sheets cuts into my shoulder amputating the increasingly heated raised and flexed arm muscles. Synaptic bursts shift this 6’4 ½”, 200 lb frame. All around me others flow, winged sinewy bodies that press against the meniscus of our comfort zones. Yoga, a Sanskrit word: to connect with, a yoke tied to this apparent continuity of self, to this physical body, to all of us in this room.
We pull saturated air through the nose, it becomes breath in the olfactory channels, heating, oxygenating unused capillaries in the lowest branches of the lungs. The head leads as the spine arches, head falls back, push a little further, “back, more back, all the way back”. On Japanese knees the rows of bodies flutter in unison. The choreography of Bikram Yoga: swimming, floating, sinking, flying, massaging, squeezing, wheezing, crushing, a spastic dance in a sweat lodge for the un-initiated….
But what is this ‘self’ that Yoga prescribes to connect with? Back to the mirror my teeth are clenched. I relax my jaw into a mask of impassive concentration. It is to join with our natural luminosity. Looking around I see the radiance brought to the physical world in the sheen of moisture that clings to our skin. Droplets of water collecting in shallow tidewater pools of the collarbone, settling on the ridge of the brow, a watercolor wash along the topography of a softened submerged shoulder blade.
It is as much about connecting as a simultaneous release. The 90 minutes are an intimate embrace to exempt tension, a muscular masturbation to liquefy the muscles, a meditation to expunge the mind. A massage pangram of all the organs and glands in this magical biological organism we inhabit. Connecting with an inner radiance conveniently labeled oneself. Connecting with this same quality in the others that fill this room, this city, and this world.
Through twenty-six postures, the expelled salty baptismal waters drip and fall to the faded blue and red pool towel that bunches and swells at my feet.
Journal Entry from First Bikram Yoga Class