The smell of coffee awakens my senses. I slip out of bed and quietly shuffle to the bathroom. I get dressed, lace up my shoes, grab my coffee, and sit down to Wordle my brain awake. The morning sky begins to yawn. I look at the time, check the forecast, hit ‘Play’ on my audiobook, and slide my phone into my hip pack. Outside at the bottom of the stairs, I stretch one leg then the other, holding for three seconds more out of ritual than physical benefit. Asthe rose fingers of dawn begin to paint the skyline, I take a deep breath, and begin.
I reacquaint myself with my tired hamstrings with every footfall. Even though I hear the British twirl of words the narrator weaves for me, I feel the world around me. I feel the empty streets. I feel the humid coolness of a Minnesota Spring morning, indecisive whether it’s going to be 30º or 80º. I feel my body moving through space without being told.
I breathe. This breath is my vehicle even more than my feet. It takes my nervous system by the hand, convincing me with its whisper we are not being chased, we are not late, and we are not in trouble.
My body warms. My arms move rhythmically like two children trying to match the cadence of their swings. As the sun slowly rises over the buildings, the relief of a gentle breeze greets the sweat rolling down my neck, a breeze I create, a breeze that starts and ends with me.
My watch buzzes to remind me as I am moving forward, so does time. It takes me out of the moment I’m in to tell me what passed. My eyes interpret the numbers, my body reflects them.
The asphalt path criss-crosses with the varicose veins of buried tree roots refusing to be stifled. It winds. It climbs. I shorten my strides and lean into it. I feel my heart rate rising with every push of my foot, with every pump of my arm. But my breath returns to remind me with its whispers “you are ok.” I draw in fully, and spill out slowly. My chest expands to invite in the nourishment of breath. She sits, she soothes, and she sweeps away. She grounds, she focuses, and she cleanses. As I crest the hill, my footfalls slow, my heart rate steadies, and I settle back into my flow.
The miles click by, the time ticks on, and I am here. I am here with my book. I am here with my grocery list. I am here with that cute dachshund in the green sweater. I am here with my anger, my frustration, my uncertainties. I am here with my joy, my excitement, and my gratitude. I am here. And even as I tire and sit on the curb with my head in my hands, I still smile. My breath rubs my back and whispers, “You are ok.”
On the mat is where we learn our yoga, but it’s beyond the mat where our yoga takes flight.
Ted (YogaTed) Roseen has taught yoga around the Twin Cities for over 20 years. He loves to teach and travel. Roseen and his partner in crime, Sharon Picasso, led retreats all over the world in the last 15 years (before it was cool). The retreats, just like his yoga, invite people to take their own journey and to give in to “play.” If Roseen was a vegetable, he would be a snap pea.