Welcome, everyone. My name is Anastasia and I will be your guide for the next 60 minutes of this yoga practice.
Try setting an intention for your practice. Perhaps it’s being present and not letting your mind wander. We all have busy lives in this crazy, fast-paced world. The next hour is a gift to yourself, an opportunity to cleanse your body and mind.
Begin by laying down on your back with your eyes gently closed. Resist the urge to open your eyes and do a quick scan of the room, evaluating people’s yoga wear.
Let’s start by taking the first few minutes to fully acclimate to our surroundings, the feeling of our bodies on our mats, and to bring awareness to our breath. If you have a weird taste in your mouth from the garlic bread that accompanied your Caesar salad at lunch, don’t worry about it.
Eyes remain gently closed, no peeking. Ignore the thought that you, too, could have worn that in your early 20s. Relax, no one can tell that your yoga shorts are actually bike shorts.
Take a moment to let go of the day you’ve had. Everything you’ve experienced today prior to entering this space is no longer relevant. Especially the clipped conversation you had with your mother about her desire for grandchildren.
If you’re holding on to something, if you’re clenching, let it go. Yes, you can safely let out that fart that’s been building up inside of you all afternoon. Better now while you’re on your back and your yoga mat can help absorb some of the blow than when you’re in downward dog.
Get back to focusing on your breath. In through your nose, out through your mouth. Try not to think about how the people around you can smell stale garlic. Just breathe. It doesn’t matter if you exhale through your nose because the garlic is seeping out of your pores.
Draw your attention to your toes. Give them a little wriggle. That’s right, wake them up through movement. Playfully scrunch and then spread them. Just like you did when you decided to make some money on the side by submitting a video to that foot fetish website. It’s not pornography if there’s no nudity, right? Cash in and let those little piggies take you to the market.
Okay, now slowly roll your ankles. Roll them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Stop and remind yourself which way is clockwise. It’s okay if you panicked and went the wrong way at first. It’s one of those simple things you have a hard time recalling. Just like you can never remember if broccoli is spelled with two c’s or two l’s.
Continue to do an inward scan as you move your awareness up your body. Don’t dwell on the fact that you’re on the third day of your cycle or that your third day is always your heaviest. Also, try not to think about how you didn’t have time to change your tampon before class because you were running late.
Moving up, and ignoring how bloated you feel, place one hand on your diaphragm and one hand on your heart. Feel your breath, connect to your breath. Ignore the garlic taste and smell which you’d momentarily forgotten about until I brought it up again.
Stay present. Try not to think about how your friend Becky’s periods are shorter than yours and don’t seem to cause her any bloating. Avoid momentarily fantasizing about having her life and actually being Becky. Her short, bloat-free periods. Her higher-paying job which is seemingly stress-free. Her undemanding, supportive mother. Let go of any intrusive thoughts.
Bring your attention to your hands and gently move your fingers. Push aside the fact that when you submitted your video to the hand fetish website it was rejected on the grounds that your fingers were “the wrong type of slender” and your cuticles weren’t “boner inspiring.”
Don’t start thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner tonight. Besides, you have eggs in the fridge but you don’t have any cheese for an omelet.
You’re wishing you’d signed up for a spin class instead of coming to yoga.
Refocus on the here and now. Stop thinking about the sound of my voice and how it reminds you of that annoying Disney character. The one whose name you can never remember. The one voiced by Rosie O’Donnell in the 1999 animated Tarzan. It’s Terk.
If you want to have that glass of crisp Chardonnay when you get home, you have to earn it. Be present and intoxicate yourself with yoga. Drink in your surroundings. Get crunk on mobility and mindfulness.
It’s important that we take these first minutes to let our day wash away, so that we can fully commit to ourselves and this practice. You definitely don’t want to be thinking about how your boss came into the break room asking, “What stinks?” and then settled their judging gaze on your crackers and tuna. Spending the next hour ruminating about how upset that made you feel would probably ruin this healing yoga practice.
Okay, who’s feeling grounded, refreshed, and ready to get started?