Medha was at school; I rushed through chopping up my summer favorites like zucchini and celery, a sprig of mint leaves along with the usual onion, tomato and carrots, throwing them into a large pot that simmered with vegetable stock. It was time for my Yoga class.
Leaving the vegetables to cook thoroughly at a low flame I headed out to my gym. The instructor, Stephanie, hadn’t started the class yet. Her microphone wasn’t working. “I’ll just have to be loud in the Gentle Yoga class”, she remarked.
All of us inhaled deep breaths and began warming up for a grueling routine. I’m still not sure why the class is called “gentle”.
In the Downward Dog pose (Adho Mukha Shvanasana, the original Sanskrit name for the pose, sounds much more elegant than its English counterpart!) with blood rushing into my brain I was struck by a thought: “What am I doing here in a class full of Whites, except brown me of course, learning an ancient Indian practice from an American teacher when I have a few Yoga experts in my own family?”
As I tried balancing myself in the Vrikshasana (blandly called the “Tree pose”!) the images of my Nana (my maternal grandfather) performing Pranayama, my mom doing the Soorya Namaskara early in the morning and my uncle who claims to have seen Jyothi (light, yeah right!) as he meditated flashed in front of my eyes. Why wasn’t I ready to learn when I had so many teachers to choose from? Was it pure stubbornness or just ignorance of not realizing the value of the resources I had?
In the stance of Veerabhadra II I didn’t feel like a Warrior. Instead, my shoulders sagged and my core felt squishy. All the things I hadn’t done and all the words unsaid came hurtling towards me. I had entered the Zone of Regret.
“Don’t forget to breathe!”, Stephanie reminded us. With a deep breath I was gently brought back to the present. I forgave my younger self. With motherhood I needed Yoga now more than ever. I had to strengthen my tired back and calm my edgy nerves. I was ready to learn and a teacher had shown up.
I lied there in Shavasana resolving to live like I’d have no regrets tomorrow. Someone rightly said, “You’ll seldom experience regret for anything that you’ve done. It is what you haven’t done that will torment you”.
I went back to a home smelling of gently boiling Minestrone soup. Into it I tossed a handful of Fusilli pasta shells and let them cook al dente. After sprinkling some everyday seasoning I ladled some soup into a bowl and sat reading a novel until it was time to pick my daughter from school.