All alone in my gym’s yoga studio, I wonder how much longer it’ll be until I head home. But there’s something in my heart that tells me I’m not ready to walk away from this gym, from the one place that can be my solace when everything is slowly crumbling. It feels as though I have been running away from myself all day. I let Beyoncé’s song overpower the voice of my own cloudy thoughts, but it fails to appease the storm in my head. I need a moment to slow down, turn off the quick-paced music that only helps me forget about my problems temporarily. So I tell myself to stop running and turn down the lights. I hear the gentle click of the dim lamp as I turn it on, a confirmation that I’m ready sit in the front seat of my well-being. I recline on the yoga mats beneath me, encouraging myself to take deep breaths.
Typically, I meditate in a roomful of gym-goers who are eager to improve their physical and mental health. But today, they are all here with me in spirit, as our hearts gently beat in unison. Relaxing every muscle, I close my eyes. I listen to my pulse, as well as Hozier’s voice as he sings “Like Real People Do.” We can be alone but still sense the accompaniment of those who support us. We can be in a room full of people, yet feel so alone. My lungs expand and contract slowly, as I breathe in to all my areas of tension. My thoughts have become quiet, but I can still hear the calm voices of my yoga instructors. Remember to be patient and persistent with yourself, Wanda’s voice echoes. From my heart to yours, Namaste, Mary says. Their uplifting words intertwine with Hozier’s lyrics as he sings, “I knew that look, dear. Eyes always seeking.”
I acknowledge the blood that gently pulses through my calf muscles, as my legs rest against the yoga mat. Counting my breaths, I find complete solace in this cool, dark room. Inhale 2, 3, 4. Exhale, 2, 3, 4. I listen to Wanda’s voice as she says, Start to bring awareness back to your body by wiggling your toes and your fingertips. I continue to breathe. And when you’re ready, roll onto your side in a fetal position, using your arms as a pillow. I roll onto my right side, tuck my hands under my head, and pull my knees into my chest. And on the count of 3, I’m going to ask you to sit up. 1… 2… 3. I use my arms to push myself into a seated position. I imagine there are yogis behind me whose eyes are closed as they wear rested facial expressions. We gently stretch the muscles in our neck by tilting our heads to each side and holding it for a few moments. And let’s take our last in-breath and inhale the arms above the head. We do as instructed, eventually lowering our hands into our chests. From my heart to yours, Namaste. The class concludes.
The corners of my mouth form a sweet, tired smile. A smile that expresses that I’m ready to walk home and enjoy the sun. I take a moment to appreciate my peaceful surroundings, as the dim lights beautifully illuminate the clean wood floor. Meditation encourages me to adopt a positive attitude, take control over my thoughts and well-being, and just breathe. Notice what happens when you breathe. Your thoughts become quiet. I listen to Wanda’s voice one last time before I leave.