Choosing yoga over Vegas or some fancy French restaurant on my 37th birthday is no act of holiness. It demonstrates only my conflicting optimism, desperation, and resignation that my life isn’t where I thought it should be by now.
I steer myself into class knowing my teacher will shine her wise light on the magnitude of the day. I’m just not prepared for how.
Pam guides us repeatedly into one of my least favourite poses, “Warrior Two”, Virabhadrasana. Others look strong and serenely aligned. I’m goofily unbalanced, a collection of unmatched parts. Plus, it hurts—my quads seize until I beg for release.
While I’m busy repeating my slacker’s mantra no, no, no… Pam invites the class to “Be a Yes.”
I snap to attention (Pam has that effect). She continues, “This is a biological process. Say yes to it. Why did you come if not to change something about your body?”
Ever laughed aloud during yoga? I hadn’t until I met Pam. This time, I wasn’t laughing at her quirky sense of humour but her (apparent) telepathy.
More than 20 years into my childbearing window and only eight from its end—still unhappily childless—I was being invited, on this very day, to be a yes to a biological process that would change my body. Funny, right?
Guiding us back into the ache of the pose, Pam expanded her theme. “Notice the drama coming up around the pose. It’s not you. It’s just ego drama. Pay it no mind. Your fear—all fear—is future oriented. In the now, just notice the fear. Recognize that it’s not true. Noticing the simplicity of the biological process grounds us in the present.”
What a concept. Instead of shouting out “Amen!” I hold Warrior Two, stronger now. Pam adjusts my shoulders a millimeter; suddenly I’m balanced. Just that tiny shift, and everything is different. Hhhmmmm…
After class, I ask Pam why Warrior Two is so darn hard.
“Anxiety comes up in this pose. It is difficult—there’s a real physicality to the arms and legs. That’s why it’s a good place to practice serenity and stillness amidst the chaos. That’s why I ask you to hold the pose for so long.” She’s right (as usual!). “Warrior Two plants us in the essence of who we are. We come to truth and intuition there.”
No wonder it’s uncomfortable. No wonder it speaks to me on my birthday: intuition is exactly what I’ll need to navigate the next few years—and exactly what I’ve ignored for the past few. But now I know: just be a yes.