My Yoga Retreat


Letting go of ego is part of the Yoga way
Last night I learned that letting go is a long, long ways away

"What have I gotten myself into?" I ask
Trying to sit, oh so properly on my mat

Looking at twenty-four well-conditioned female forms
Alas, mine more like the proverbial pear

Conversations all around while trying not to listen
Learning of failed in-vitro and other things I wasn't sure I should hear

Finally, Al arrived
At least another bit of testosterone

The instructors start and into the poses we go -

Terasana - "Good, a standing pose."
"Perhaps, this won't be so bad."

Salutes to the sun - "Ah, I can do that"

"What? Some moves I have never seen!"
"UH-OH! I think I am in trouble."

Bending at their waists, heads touching knees
Bending at my waist, hands still a foot to go

The instructor, kindly helps me, "Bend your knees."
"Yes, that works."

Suddenly, the pace picks up
I am beginning to dislike the Sun

Sweat drips as I watch my neighbor
So much for "It's been a long time."

Time becomes surreal –
"Will I live to see the morn?"

As I watch the others move in poetic synchronicity

Triangle - Warrior, onward they go

OM's and AHH's fill the air as I gasp for breath
"Is my life insurance paid? Will my family miss me?" I ask.

"I don't want to die!"

Finally, my ego succumbs and into Child's pose I go.
Head buried in a towel others ignoring my near-death pose

Later peeking through my fingers what sights I behold
Inversions, conversions onward they go

Next, on the back into a resting pose
"Thank God, I can do that!" Only an hour to go!

The end finally comes with a Headstand pose
Not me and a few others –
into an alternate pose we go

The instructors had done their best
Treating me gently, especially when only wanting rest

Hastily retreating the room,
I knew I would not be back

I learned many things this night –
Mainly letting go of ego

"I still have a long ways to go!"

Comments: The original version of this poem was written upon returning to my hotel room after surviving the first 90 minute session on a Friday evening that was part of a weekend yoga workshop in which I had enrolled. At that time, I had been involved in weekly yoga practice for approximately five months. I was thoroughly enjoying the yoga experience and decided to attend this special weekend event with special instructors flown in from California. Obviously, from the poem I was not ready. Since then, I have continued my yoga practice, now daily, and am even considering attending another workshop. I laughed through the original writing of this poem and still chuckle at the experience. I remember calling my three sisters and my family, telling them in glorious details about my near-death experience. On a serious note, yoga really is about letting go, especially of ego. While I laugh at my experiences that evening, I learned much about myself and the role 'ego' still played in my life. How often we fear failure and not measuring up to our expectations of ourselves. By the way, I highly recommend yoga to anyone, even if you are rather pear-shaped. You eventually come to realize that it is not the physical body but what is within you that truly determines who you are.

A Yoga Conversation

Standing tall, balanced,
.....right hand grasps left raised wrist.
“Stretch,” comes the gentle instruction,
.....“Feel your side lengthen?”
Another yoga class has begun.
Daily worries fade and disappear for a time, the mind clears its mental chaos.
In turn, thoughts focus on the subtle
.....and not so subtle moves.
Muscles speak,
.....“This feels good.
.....Wait, this is a bit much.
.....Relax, sink deeper.”
Breath quickly enters the conversation,
.....“Don’t forget me – breathe.”

“Old friends,” comes my reply,
.....“we should speak more often.”

Comments: This brief poem was written shortly after a yoga class. But I am attempting to speak beyond that isolated experience. Today, there are so many demands on us that we sometimes forget to listen to the messages our bodies are sending. Often, we go to work ill because we believe we can't afford to be off. A few years ago I learned that failure to heed those messages will result in a message you cannot ignore. Worry about work becomes your least important one.

Visit Me

Brush against my cheeks.
Cool the droplets of perspiration upon the brow.
Carry the scents of early summer to my nostrils.
Emerge me in your embrace,
And stroke with gentle caresses.
Oh Wind, my spirit is yours
To transport where you will.

Comments: None needed.

Definitely not the traditional yoga studio
but a place where I have practiced.
The wind visited me here one day