I creep downstairs at 5:30 a.m., trying to steal a few moments for a much needed yoga session before the whole house wakes up and the business of life steals all my "me-time" from me. The floor boards creak beneath my feet. Shhhh... I whisper to no one, Please don't let that sound wake anyone up. Please. I ever so gingerly unroll my yoga mat, the sticky un-sticking sound making another slight noise that causes me to cringe with worry that my moment will be lost to the sound of children rousing out of sleep. But so far so good.
I place my feet at the top of my mat. Hip distance apart. Spreading and separating my toes, then pressing each one firmly into the mat. Rooting my feet to the earth. My spine lengthens, shoulders back and down. The crown of my head lifts. I am tall and serene. I close my eyes and open my hands down at my sides, fingers spread wide, ready to receive peace. I am in Tadasna, Mountain Pose. I breathe in through my nose, feeling the air cool down the back of my throat as it travels and fills my lungs and expands my abdomen. The breath is energizing. I pause in stillness, letting the full breath of oxygen feed every part of me. Then I let go, my diaphragm contracts, my lungs release the air up through the back of my throat and out again through the nose. The whole process sounds like an ocean wave, now receding and releasing all tension into the wide expanse of the sea where it dissolves into nothingness.
I hold my pose and practice this breathing for 5 more breaths. Then I am ready to solute the sun. I feel my body, stiff at first, stretching and bending through the sequence. Soon I am more loose and I feel my muscles allow more stretch and expansion as I step into Downward Dog, I feel long and strong. My confidence builds and joy bubbles into a smile on my face, this stretch is deeper than the last time, I am growing in my practice. My body is amazing. I can do this.
Just as I finish the Sun Salutations I hear my two-year-old talking, really a loud joyful singing in her crib. This is how she greets her day. In part it makes me smile and in part I feel disappointed that this is all the yoga I will be able to fit in today. It wasn't as long as I'd hoped. But then I stop the negative thoughts and think thankfully It is something. My day couldn't have started out any better really. Each stolen moment is a gift to myself and it is something...something beautiful. Now I am more ready to give myself to everyone else, just like every other day, but perhaps today with more love, appreciation and sincerity, because I have taken the time to do a kindness for myself and I feel grateful for that.