It’s funny what will trigger a memory. I snagged my tights (or pantyhose as proper grown-ups call them), as I took off my skirt tonight. Despite accidental destruction of innumerable pairs of cheap pantyhose, tonight I decided that this was the pair I wanted to salvage with clear nail polish. So I’m wearing my favorite soft, gray t-shirt and black control tops (sexy, huh?) just standing around in my bedroom waiting for the polish to dry when I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror.
Suddenly it’s Saturday morning and I’m in ballet class 20 years ago. After a few plies with arms I remember a warm-up I loved doing in high school for color guard practice; it had the most beautiful, precise fluidity. First position, plié with arms, tendu a terre to second with arms, plié with arms, and so on through fifth position. Don’t you just love these names? Most are French but I especially love the Italian ones like “adagio”, meaning, “at ease.” I mention only because this routine I’m describing happens to be the most calming and graceful sequence in the world, in my opinion. I always wanted to do it as well as this girl Christine who I was in guard with; she was in the Nutcracker and I always tried to copy her hands and head placement. She was just so precise.
I should be clear that I was never interested in being a ballet dancer. But as I moved through that simple warm-up and felt so sated, it reminded me of yoga. The precision, fluidity, strength, and energy of a yoga practice produces moment after moment of simultaneous extreme presence and peace. That’s the best way I can describe what my yoga practice feels like for me. And when I moved through that simple ballet routine, I felt that same familiar falling into peace. It was bliss. I’m so happy I ruined those tights tonight.
photo credit: YoungGeun Kim, source
I thought that was your little sister in the picture at first!