Posted by VERITAS
I sit lotus on the tatami as the teacher leads the yoga class through some warm-up pranayama (breathing) exercises, opening my eyes occasionally to take in, for a moment or two, the view of the calm, broad expanse of the park afforded by the windows on the room’s opposite side, then closing them again to focus on, as best I can, on the energy of my breath moving through my body. At the close of the pranayama, the teacher chants a mantra in Sanskrit, ending with shanti, shanti, shanti – peace, peace, peace – and it is peace that I so much seek amidst the whorl of discord within me and outside of me.
As the teacher begins leading us through the asanas I’m still thinking, wishing “peace,” even as discordant thought blips pass through my consciousness of a younger woman – a member of another yoga group who, blessedly, doesn’t participate in this one – who recently rejected me outright as a possible lover simply because of my age; of how great sex might be with her . . . the carnal acrobatics, courtesy of her supple-taut well-yoga’d bod, her playful, focused well-yoga’d energy; of various positions, clench and release amidst ecstatic, whitewater laughter; orgasmic, rictal smiles – peace to her and her preference (which, as the expression goes, I can totally understand) . . . and peace to me as well, Baudelaire-ean eyebags, varicose veins, assorted wrinkles, saggy skin, and all! . . . and thoughts, too, of whether yet another younger woman whom I find attractive and who happened to lay out her mat next to mine (because, simply, there were no other spaces left – not as any possible indication of interest in me) notices the liver spots on the backs of my hands as we go through several sun salutations and other poses which expose these prime emblems of my increasing years to her casual viewing, should she but glance at them for a moment . . . of whether this other woman has given me even a second thought in terms of relationship possibilities beyond the level of casual yoga class acquaintance . . . sex and aging – what better leitmotifs around which my maelstrom of discordant thought blips can congregate! . . . always returning my focus to my breathing and . . . shanti, shanti, shanti . . .