"When you do yoga, all the doors is open, PLUS you create hundreds and hundreds of new doors and windows." - Bikram, teacher training, 5/27/10.For more than a week, the city has been slumped under another "record breaking" heat wave, with heat index values in the triple digits. It was a humid one. I'd shower after the morning yoga class, get in my car to do errands, and immediately feel like I needed another shower. Instant sweat! Phew! I don't mind sweating when I'm in my cool little yoga outfit, but sweat-soaked dresses, shorts and t-shirts are another story. My friends and I have mostly spent our afternoons indoors, hiding in air conditioned basements and watching old movies on Netflix.
Today - it rains.
Not just a little bit of rain, but a full-on, glorious, noisy summer thunderstorm. I got back to my apartment just in time, and my roommate and I shut off the A.C. and opened all the doors and windows. Cool, fresh air - fantastic! We let the indoor cat run out onto the porch, since she wouldn't go far with the rain. When a big noise scared her in the street, she bolted from the front porch, through the house, and all the way out onto the back porch. (She is still out there happily, crouching under a chair and munching on green things.) It's cooled down so much that I tossed a light pashmina scarf on over my sundress, feeling slightly chilly from the breeze. The rain is still coming down - drip, drip, drip - the weeds are already growing at twice their normal rate, and lots of interesting crawly things are coming out of the ground.
And as we threw open all the doors and windows, I felt a little tickle at my memory, and I remembered Bikram, in the middle of another late night lecture at teacher training, saying something about yoga. Yoga opens all the doors and windows, and then makes new doors and windows.
I love that. When I think of those words, I can practically feel the breeze that swept me away from my old life and into something new and strange and wonderful.
I've got another one: Yoga is the rain after a heat wave. Yoga is the fresh breeze, and yoga - ironically! - is the cool air. Yoga is water in a dry ground.
You come to yoga dry and brittle, tired. Yoga wakes you up. Yoga opens up all those parts of your body that have been neglected and underused, and it brings the circulation and vitality back into them. You thought you were getting old? Emmy always said, "you are only old when your joints are no longer juicy." Yoga is the oil can - yoga makes your joints juicy. It opens up your spine so that the life force can get back in. Yoga makes you drip sweat out of every pore - did you even know there was that much water in your body? - just to let you know that you are alive and you are growing. Yoga comes like the rain and makes things change and grow - tomorrow, when we step outside, everything will be greener. Everything will look new.
The heat wave diminishes, and a new cycle starts.
Yoga is fresh air in your lungs. Yoga is relief.
Yoga is rain.