Kathryn Gahl

Mind in the Spine

In Healthcare, Weighing In on February 28, 2012 at 3:45 am

When was the last time I found my mind in the spine? Or perhaps I should ask : when was the last time I placed my  mind in the spine. I don’t do it, I admit, until I go to  yoga. There, I challenge myself to find my mind. At the beginning of class, I have no mind at all to connect mind with behind.

Until the instructor Bruce Van Dyke begins his intonation. He has the voice of a sleepy baritone: Put your mind in the spine. Breathe. Let the body soften. Release. Renew. Refresh. Magical bones that cradle my spinal cord do as instructed. They open and realign. They dance with muscles that bend and stretch and twist.I am a cat being lazy in the universe. I am a baby without cares. I roll and release. I find peace.

Breathe, Mr. Van Dyke says. Feel that vital force enter you. I breathe. I bend. Pretty soon my head is lower than my heart. Yoga calls it the pose of a child; it is truly the fetal position, a water lily floating in warm water. Feel the body soften, Mr. Van Dyke says. I feel. My body succumbs. I yield. Pretty soon I stretch farther, I hold longer. My body lightens and if this keeps up, I am sure I shall fly, weightless and exuberant.

Mr. Van Dyke demonstrates more movements. He moves like a cobra. He moves like a swan. Pretty soon, he is a standing tree, perfectly balanced. He raises his arms, they are the limbs of his tree. When a good wind comes along, he will fly.

I move like a cobra. I move like a swan. My head is lower than my heart. The vital force courses through my blood vessels. I am lightheaded and giddy. And I think, I too, shall fly.

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