Open skies over Colorado, an open heart for Jess.

Open skies over Colorado, an open heart for Jess.

I am freshly returned from a week-long vacation with my partner to visit my sister and my nieces in Colorado. Thank goodness for that break, the opportunity to spend time with the people I love most in the world without obligations or time constraints. It allowed me to clear my head, clear my heart, and (most importantly) to miss my yoga.

This morning, I stumbled into the studio a minute late, my body eager for the opportunity to practice. I had practiced minimally (and eaten maximally) while away, and it had been two and half days since my last 26&2. Two days of swimming with a five-year-old, chasing a toddler, sitting cramped on an airplane. My body was in need of cleansing. As a result, class was challenging–my heart racing faster, my breath more shallow, my muscles tighter and weaker–but oh! how it responded. My lungs gulped for that extra capacity, my muscles drained away that silly tension, and my heart gloried in retrieving that yoga state of mind. Still, my real challenge was to keep my mind enjoying how much I was getting out of class, instead of feeling angry and guilty that I was not performing to my highest, or even usual, abilities. The challenge of remembering that is not the point.

Amidst all this, before I leapt in the room or even had the chance to change, one of my regular students (also a bit late), exclaimed and bombarded me with a hug. As soon as I headed into the room, trying to grab a spot as quickly and non-disruptively as possible, another one of my regular students saw me in the mirror and paused in the middle of Pranayama breathing to grin wildly at me and silently say hi. (So much for not causing a disruption, eh?) When my friend and teacher-to-be off to my right caught my eye later in class, she jokingly stuck her tongue out at me. (I returned the favor a few postures later, of course.) Each made it clear how much they had missed me over the past days, and how genuinely glad they were that I had returned.

These little moments, alone or together, reminded me how much I belong here. There is a place for me here, in spite of my locational fatigue and ever-present wanderlust–a place which I have cultivated. This, this communion, is the result of my yoga practice, my yoga teaching. It feels good to be back. For my body, but even more for my heart, to be so enthusiastically welcomed home by my yogis.