“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.” Michelangelo
The yogini in my mind is wearing a fatsuit.
As I lean forward in Uttanasana (standing forward bend) and "make peace with my big toes," using each breath to pull my face closer to my shins, I take (un-yogic) pride in my flexibility. Strong and bendy, feeling like a warrior, I forget that I resemble the father in Family Guy -- wearing lycra -- doing a lousy imitation of a paper clip. Thank God my yoga studio has no mirrors.
On the mat, I feel beautiful. I am always the heaviest person in the room, and there are moments of deep humiliation as a result of my weight, but the tiny day-to-day victories -- another second in a balance posture, another inch of stretch in a twist -- are my private reward for showing up to the practice. And the reward always comes.
Now, I want to fly. I want to balance on my arms and glide from pose to pose without putting my feet on the ground. I want to stand on my head after ten years of trying. I want to wear Lululemon without fear of my boobs squishing out in chaturanga. I want to bind in seated spinal twist without using my hands to shift my potbelly out of the way. I yearn to go into shoulder stand without worry that today the roll of fat around my middle will finally suffocate me. In my mind's eye, I see myself in unassisted handstands, flying pigeons, and side crows. Not easy with fifty extra pounds to heave around.
I am ready for the outside yogini to reflect the yogini inside.
I have the bikini. I am the yogini. And by December 31, 2010, I plan to put them together, and post the photograph in this space.
Between now and then, I am committing to my yoga practice, come sprain or fart or instructor vacation (God forbid). There is only one rule. I will go to yoga class every other day. At least.
And so it begins: tomorrow: 1/1/10, 10:30 a.m. at Pure Yoga West. My favorite teacher, Sherman Morris, is teaching a ninety minute power class. When he tells us to close our eyes and dedicate our practice, I'm going for steadiness, like the turtle. Dammit. Turtle pose. Add that one to the list.
Happy New Year. Namaste.