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  • Paula Tiberius

Enjoy The Space

That’s what the yoga instructor said today as she asked us all to twist into a triangle pose. It’s one of those poses that looks serene and positively healing when you see it on the cover of Yoga Journal. The legs are apart in a triangle, the chest and arms open to one side stretching from the floor to the ceiling, bent over at the waist. I remember how good it used to feel when I was a strapping young lass of thirty-seven three years ago, practicing yoga all the time.

Today, my feeling was more along the lines of “when will this be over?” So when she said, “enjoy the space” I was startled, as if this was the last phrase on earth that would ever be associated with exercise of any kind. My body actually chuckled. “You want me to do that and enjoy it at the same time? Don’t be ridiculous!”

Yet that simple sentence rang in my ears for a long time afterward. Enjoy the space. Yes. Indeed. How ultimately deep, really. What a fitting metaphor for everything in life. Enjoy the space you’re occupying, literally. Enjoy your life. What a profound concept disguised as mere off-the-cuff throw-away yogi banter!

I suddenly felt panicked. I wasn’t enjoying this yoga pose! I was grimacing absurdly and my muscles were seconds away from breaking into that awkward involuntary shake. Jesus Christ, I thought. If I couldn’t enjoy holding a yoga pose, what could I enjoy? Imagine my misery with daily life! Grocery shopping? Forget it – there’s no joy there! Paying bills? Just more wasted time in my excrutiating life! Why, there were so many goddamn spaces I wasn’t enjoying, it was soul chilling! Do I enjoy anything ever? Am I happy on any level? Will I die miserable, full of fear and unfulfilled desires?

“And release your hands, coming back to downward facing dog.” The pose was over. During final meditation I decided not to berate myself for being unable to stop thinking about the shrimp ring in the fridge. Then the class was over. I made it.

Then suddenly, without the intense suggestions of the instructor to freak me out, I discovered that I was enjoying my space a little bit after all. I ran into a friend afterwards whom I’d been wanting to see again. And I fully enjoyed the free Burt’s Bees samples available at the shoe cubby. There was hope for me after all.

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