This Now

Legs cross beneath me...one shin stacks atop another forming a solid trangular base. Spine extends - tall and straight. Chest broadens. Heart opens. Crown of head - reaches to the ceiling. Hands rest quietly on my knees. Fingers relax. Palms face upwards.

'Easy' pose - the teacher says...as she leads. In sanskrit - it's called 'Sukhasana'.

Close your eyes. Inhale to the steady count of four and exhale to that same and steady count again. Breathe.

Settle in. Feel your body. Set your intention. And 'now' - she reminds us - the practice of yoga begins.

It is the 'now' that I'm thinking of. The 'atha'. There's nothing particularly comfortable about this position in which I'm seated. There's nothing easy about any of this at all. My body so desperately wants to come out of it...to begin to move and to stretch. My mind wanders - jumping from one thought to another. It starts questioning and doubting and telling me - I can't.

But - I can. And - I am.

How much longer? I hear my mind thinking. And when - exactly - will this 'now' begin? Because - right here in this not-so-easy pose - can't possibly be 'that' just right time. I'm not ready - not ever.  It's not perfect - not yet. This pose that appears to be so simple...is so very hard.

I start thinking about a beautiful conversation I'd had earlier...and a more difficult one that was still to come. My day's lists begin to haunt me. I wonder if I'd remembered to turn off the stove and lock the door before leaving...and what will we eat for dinner? That thing - yes that all important 'thing' that I'd been meaning to do? I need to do that before this. Yes..definitely - I do.

Has it started yet? I wonder. This practice? Has this 'now' arrived? Is 'this' the just right time? How will I know if I'm ready? When will I know if I've begun?

Softly and gently -  I'm reminded to listen to the sound of my breath...to feel my heart beating. My mind quiets. The urgency eases...the thoughts slow themselves down. Nothing is seeming as important. Only this. One inhale...and then the next.

Surrendering into that initial discomfort..I'm now finding a little more comfort...a lot more space. The voices - in my head - are still talking...but my mind is growing still. I'm no longer reacting. The thoughts are floating in and out of my consciousness as they pass through.

New begininngs. Daily ones. No matter how many times I've begun this way - they're always a challenge.  The quieting of my perserverating mind. The surrendering and releasing and allowing myself to be just as I am...as it is. In 'this' moment. Present and aware. In 'this' here and this 'now'.

The teacher's voice brings me back into myself. She reminds me that it's not about pushing those thoughts away...but about fully embracing them. It's about listening...about hearing...about feeling...and letting go.

The 'now' in which I began is the 'now' in which I'm in. And it's within this 'now' that the practice of yoga truly begins.

Atha Yoganusasanam