By Karin St. Pierre, Bikram Yoga Durham student
He pulls us into focused stillness with the first ring of the bell. The room shrinks and envelops us, safe and dark, a mother’s womb. Somehow, the ceiling fans know to swirl in silent circles, sucking up air and delivering the sour smell of the carpet like a summons. The monster heat retreats, our thumping hearts slow to normal. Mats, soggy beneath us, are body-sized sign-in sheets: proof of attendance. Again, the bell. Our bodies are corpse-like, heads resting heavy on the unforgiving floor, hands and feet open at our sides. But our minds roam back and forth between embracing and resisting his words to —“let everything go”— knowing that daylight and reality will soon surge back into the darkened room like flood waters. With the final ring, an end-of-the-day school bell, the service is over. Relief. Regret. We carry both from this holy space, this blessed cave.