Not a Pretzel: A Love Poem for my First Yoga Teacher

Dappled morning sun
Filtered by the pines
Yoga on our back deck

Arms open to the sky
Knees resting to one side
Supine twist
My very first pose

Tiny flecks of sunlight
Warm the side of my face
I settle in
So – this is the yoga you’ve been telling me about.

One new pose
Flows into another
Under the dancing pines
We move, we breathe

Then my mind takes over
I say “ Am I doing this right?”
And you answer “How does it feel?”
Well, this is something new.

This “How does it feel”
Well, I don’t know
How’s it supposed to feel?
“Well, everyone feels it a little differently.”

The breathing, it’s slow
And I fight it a bit
My mind wants to think, to question,
To analyze

Breathing, Breathing
Breathe in, breathe out
Find the silence in the pauses

I can feel that a bit
a tiny bit

Practice, practice
Days, weeks, months
And always
How does it feel?

Then one day
I find myself lulled onto the breath we’d been practicing
I’m here! Now!
I’m breathing.

1 2 3, 1 2 3 4 5 6
1 2 3, 1 2 3 4 5 6

I feel it
That little bit of calm and silence between the breaths
That space
It’s there. Ah…

Practice, practice, then one day
Moving, breathing
I feel beautiful.
Me! Really. Beautiful!

That inner voice
From when I was 12
Calling me awkward, skinny,
Inflexible, uncoordinated.
It hushed.

Thank goodness.

And when that voice sneaks back in now and then
I know how to deal with it

Because yoga teaches us to get to know our bodies,
Our minds, our hearts,
It lays them bare, then asks us to accept them.
Love them.
Love them just as they are.

Most important
Most important of all
I learned from you that
Yoga is not just making a human pretzel and breathing deeply

It’s a thousands of years old guide
For making our way in this world, for good-
For giving
For loving,
For healing,
For peace.

You are always so quietly generous
Especially to those most vulnerable,
Most in need
You embody how yoga should be lived, not just performed.

So here we are now
Both teachers
Both students

Thank you!
Thank you for your patience with all my questions.
Thank you for teaching me about yoga.

I love you


Leslie and Brendon have been practicing yoga together for a few years now.   Brendon was Leslie’s first teacher.

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