By Annie Ellertsen
Before I get all sentimental, there’s something you should know. I wasn’t into you
at first. It feels awful to say that, but looking back, it wasn’t either of our faults. I wasn’t
open minded, and the vessel you were presented in, while home for others, was a little
too confusing to me. I was shoved in a tiny room at my hometown gym with holistic
vibrational music (question mark?), old, sweaty people, “invited to chant,” but didn’t
know if i was saying to love myself or reciting a grocery list, I felt nothing like a dog in
down dog...and was dreading that we would eventually be asked to woof, and this
dancer who just needed a good stretch kept coming out frustrated.
This was before I knew how many vessels you came in. How many people not
only knew you, but adored you, trusted you, and thanked you every day for being in
their lives. That those who love you don’t have to be an extreme athlete, ex-gymnast,
contortionist, or an old fogey. Looking back, if I know one thing to be certain, it’s that I’d
have to find you on my own time, and when I was ready. And I did.
On a whim, a friend brought me into the hot room. It made me fall. HARD. I
remember thanking the teacher for saying posture names in Sanskrit and English, and
politely honing in on the latter. I liked the music, it was our breathing. Nothing else. The
whole class must have collectively drank an ocean of water, and re-filled it with our
sweat. It was extreme in a way that didn’t feel impossible. It was a feeling I had never
felt before, and after that, you guessed it: I. Wanted. MORE.
The sound the mat makes when it’s rolled out. The quiet just before we begin.
The cleansing feeling of a flow in vinyasa, the discipline of holding poses in hatha.
Knowing we can be messy together, and if I fall, you always catch me. If I need a break,
be it just chilling in childs pose, or taking a day or two off, it’s not because I lost interest,
and you don’t need me to explain anything. The reunion is always sweet.
Thank you for understanding my personal challenges. You greet my limitations
lovingly. Maybe one day I’ll get to a wall and attempt a hand stand, but for now, I’m at
peace with our inversions laying down, legs up the wall, shoulder stand, and plow. P.S,
I’m doing alright in crow. I like that I’m low to the floor, and that you are close to me
Please know that off the mat, I haven’t forgotten about you. Sometimes I catch
myself practicing eagle wrap legs in a chair. Sometimes my anxiety bubbles and I need
you, but we can’t get to each other in the way I’d like to, so I practice our breathing.
You have given me a gift, something I can practice my entire life. I’ll be 99 and
will still get down on the floor with you. I’ll value your patience, guidance, protection, and
love just as much as I do now. Probably more. I wish I had believed in you sooner, but
we have each other now, and always will.