I wake up groggy this morning because of the allergy meds my doctor prescribed. I’m not sure which is worse, though: trying to sleep with a stuffed-up nose, or feeling a bit nauseous all night from the meds.
So I’m elated when the clock finally turns to 5 a.m. I jump out of bed, remembering “I have yoga today!”
The night-time anti-congestion pill has worn off by the time I’m sipping my first cup of tea, though, and I begin to worry.
Will I be able to practice yoga while sneezing every 10 minutes and with nostrils that seem to be filled with five-pound bags of cotton?
I shrug off my concern. I need to stretch and meditate and pose myself into joy.
The room is quiet and dark. The yoga teacher, a woman in her early 40s with a matter-of fact voice and the ability to pose in the down-dog position for long minutes, turns up her IPod to the slow rhythmic chanting of gentle monks.
I feel myself relax.
“Breathe in for a count of six,” the teacher says.
I try, but my nose makes the sound of a garbage truck rumbling down a pot-holed street.
“And exhale for six.”
“Now we’ll move into the butterfly pose, yin style, with feet together, knees out, head down, for a long stretch.”
I almost faint. With my head down, I can’t get any air through my nostrils. I have to open my mouth. Is that okay? We’re supposed to breathe in and out through our nose.
Then the teacher says something brilliant:
“This stretch is challenging. But discomfort is not an emergency.”
Oh. That’s true.
I open my mouth and breathe in six. Let go six. Oxygen relaxes my muscles into a more open pose.
Ouch. But it’s a slow “hmmm, this is working,” ouch.
I start a new mantra:. Just peace out, whatever way I breathe.
And in my peaced-out state of mind, I receive a soul-full revelation.