Your Own Pace

I gazed at the old wall of red bricks, stacked and mortared one by one in an earlier time by what are now old hands. The rattle of the old vents offered a necessary element of white noise beneath the resonant tones of meditative music and the gentle voice of Dawn, this evening’s yoga instructor.

On a wooden floor on a corner in downtown Asbury Park, I was in surf shop, at night, practicing yoga with strangers.

The pace of instruction was faster than any pace at which I’ve ever operated. My less than nimble body refused to assume some of the postures I suggested it try out. With more than two decades of being trained as sitter and a thinker and a test-taker, my body had habituated to certain tasks, and this is reflected in my current physiology.

The good news is that the body responds to what you ask of it. And today I am inviting it to practice yoga. I skip many of the sequences, preferring to modify and hold and breathe at a pace that befits my own tempo. Much has been said regarding my particular style and tempo, and “quick” and “fast” are adjectives not commonly used.

At one point during the session, we were asked to rest, close our eyes, and find a place of peace. As soon as my eyelids had closed I was looking through the window of a car. I was heading north, crossing the San Francisco Bay via the Richmond Bridge. The water was that green-blue it gets when the sun is out and there was a large cargo tanker in the distance. From the height of this bridge, you could see in every direction, and the sense I had was not that I was leaving San Francisco as much as heading toward someplace quieter, greener, and with a pace much more akin to my own.


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