I’m on my yoga mat; my head is resting on my outstretched legs. It’s very quiet - except for the last drops of the morning rain bouncing off the roof. Melanie’s soothing voice is guiding me and the rest of our small group to surrender into a “Caterpillar” - a classic Yin Yoga pose. “Find your edge...just be present with the sensation. Keep breathing...”
My hamstrings feel like they haven’t been stretched for decades, but as the minutes go by I feel how they begin to open up. My whole body is relaxing. My mind is becoming calm and serene. I love Yin Yoga.
When the class ends, I walk silently out of the yoga hall, to put my mat away. Breakfast is waiting for us. I’m relaxed, energized, and very grateful to know that fresh fruits, cereals, yogurt, eggs, and tortillas are waiting for me in the dining hall.
It’s 3 am on the night before my first badminton match of the Beijing Olympics. I’ve tossed and turned for four hours now and still no closer to falling asleep. My roommate in this tiny room snores peacefully beside me, which does nothing but increase my anxiety.
I imagine my family, sleeping soundly I’m sure, crammed into the small Beijing apartment they’ve rented for the week. Halfway around the world they’ve come to cheer me on. I must not disappoint.
Relax. Relax. Relax, damn it- I tell myself. But I can’t, my mind is racing and I have no control of where it’s going. I’m paralyzed, fear is running this show.
Finally, as the sun begins to rise, my mind tires and I’m able to sleep a few precious hours. The alarm goes and my mind jumps out of its temporary slumber, skips the warm up and goes straight back to full speed ahead.
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