We set an intention in every class, just as the heat begins rising through the room and everyone rises together into the first upward facing dog.
Today it’s Be Present.
The class makes you focus – through sweat and music and dim light and all the fit bodies moving in unison. It forces you to be present. Otherwise you will miss a pose, lose the flow, fall out of step.
Time slows down in this room.
There’s no room in your head to worry about work or lacrosse carpool when you’re trying to keep up and not fall on your face during eagle pose. It makes you fully present and engaged. For sixty minutes, you have no expectations for what will happen later, after they turn on the lights and turn down the heat and this class is over.
Lying in shavasana, taking the last few breaths of class, I think about divorce. Be Present. It’s what comes long after the trauma, long after the fight, long after the fear and adrenaline and shame have diminished. You focus on the present, no expectations for what comes next. The person you are dating may or may not be your forever person. Your ex may or may not lose his job and stop paying child support. He might or might not do something awful and go to jail. You may or may not ever regain the financial comfort you once enjoyed. You may or may not achieve Great Things in your post-divorce career.
And you realize you can live with this. You’ve learned to be present in this strange new world. No expectations, because after all, you once entered into a marriage with the best of intentions and the highest of hopes only to have them trampled. You’ve learned that expectations are usually false, and that life is way more like some temperamental bucking wave than a straight line. You have to learn to bend and balance and breathe so you don’t get toppled over.
And so you suddenly find yourself present. And calm. And content.