Reverb 10 prompt #12: This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

I remember waaay back in the day–high school and early college–when I was a bun-headed dancer. In high school, daily life was pretty miserable but when I walked into the ballet studio, all that misery got swept away by the precision of plié, tendu, plié, relévé. The girl I saw in the mirror controlled her body in a way that she couldn’t control the world outside the studio–and while I was never going to be a prima ballerina, I think having the separate world of the ballet studio helped me survive adolescence.

I’m pushing fifty at this point, so that ballet body ain’t coming back any time soon (okay, ever) and I’ve (sort of) made my peace with that. What I keep searching for, in my exercise life as an adult, is that endorphine-fueled focus, the sweat that puts everything in perspective.  For a while in grad school I ran on a semi-regular basis but ultimately? I run too slowly and it hurts. Knees, back, ankles. Just one big slow ouch.

And now, in this late-mid-forties place where I find myself and my extra five (eight, maybe ten) pounds? I find myself  at the risk of sounding like someone who totally drank the lotus-spiked kool-aid because what I love these days is yoga.  When I’m sweating in the yoga studio (which has no mirrors, a key intervention in the struggle between mind and body), all the crap that I think about all day–  whattocookfordinnerwhoispickingupwhomwhatamIteachingtomorrowdidIcallthedoctordidIcallthebabysitterwhattimeissoccerpracticeareweoutofmilkisthelaundrydone –all that stuff disappears.It’s not the “om-ing” that I like, although I’m getting less cynical about that, it’s the focus on where I’m putting my body, listening to my creaky joints, feeling them de-creak as I stretch, and the distinct pleasure I take in being able to do things now that I couldn’t do two months ago.

So the short answer to this question is, “today, at about 12:40, when for the first time I managed to lift myself for a split second into something that almost resembles crow pose.” Of course, I tipped forward immediately and about cracked my nose on the floor, but I guess that’s all part of it, right?

just for the record – that person in the picture? not me – it’s from