At first, yoga is my secret.
I close the door and unroll the blue mat in the dusk of my room.
This body has carried me for almost four decades, has
Given life to my reasons to live—four of them.
But I have hated this body, told it terrible things.
I have turned away from it in the mirror and tucked it
Into the backs of crowds and into corners.
And even here, on this mat, where it does things I did not know
It could do, I hid it.
Mermaid. How awkward you must look right now. Half-headstand, always supported. You may never get this. King Dancer. Not good enough. Crane. Too weak.
But then, with time: Chair Prayer Twist,
Gentle crack of the back, stretch up the sides and
I look up, face to sky. Like it’s squeezing my insides clean and starting fresh. Cobra, the arc of my spine and how the muscles curve and stretch So much further each time! Cow / Cat / Cow / Cat – breathe in / out / in /out.
Boat, Bow, Bridge And my body is doing this. Half Lotus Tree. Beginnings of balance. Crane. Growing stronger.
Today I open the door to my room.
Warrior. Look at me, daughters, watch what my body can do.
Brandy Wilkinson is a stay-at-home mother and writer living in Indiana with her husband and four children. She received a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Southern Indiana.