"Be Open to That Change"
Vagary stood in the large meeting room
and felt the yoga mat under his feet,
trying not to feel anything else.
The bond was always there,
but he could ignore it at times.
His friends Lem and Quincy
stood on his right side,
relaxed and smiling.
was a combination of
several different themes,
so the class was crowded
with people who usually
took different ones.
the yoga teacher,
stood at the head of
the class, warming up.
Sometimes Vagary wondered
if the woman really had bones.
"We will begin with Swadhyaya,
which means self-study," said Amita.
"Sit in Padmasana, the Lotus Pose.
Cup your hands in the Dhyana Mudra,
forming a triangle with your thumbs."
Vagary sank down cross-legged
and folded his hands together.
"Focus on what you desire
and how it binds you," Amita said.
"We will chant Tat tvam asi, which
means You are what you seek."
The soft chant filled the room,
familiar voices beside him.
Vagary thought about Calliope
and how chasing her was doing him
all kinds of no good. Probably it
wasn't good for her either.
His need for belonging
got him in a lot of trouble.
"Now let it go," Amita said,
opening her hands as if
spilling out water.
Vagary followed suit
and tried to imagine
"Now we turn to Dhyana,
the practice of meditation,"
said Amita. "Go down into
Paschimottanasana, which is
the Seated Forward Bend."
Gracefully she folded her body in half.
Vagary couldn't get down that far,
but he still made a valiant attempt.
"Empty your mind of clutter," said Amita.
"Sweep your thoughts like a broom."
All Vagary could think of was
choking clouds of dust flying up
whenever he tried to clean house.
"Next, move into Bhujangasana,
or the Cobra Pose," said Amita.
She lay on her belly and then
arched her shoulders upward
in a long, elegant curve.
"Elevate your mood and
invigorate your heart."
Vagary pushed into the pose,
feeling the stretch of it
all along his spine.
He wanted to open
himself, he really did.
It just wasn't that easy.
One reason he wanted
people around him, Vagary
realized, was as a shield.
"Relax and let yourself flow
into Ishwara Pranidhana,
the surrender," said Amita.
Vagary thought about
his favorite commanders
and had no trouble finding
the appropriate mindset.
Beside him, Quincy flopped
out of position. He never
did the surrendering poses.
Vagary never asked why.
"Stretch out on your belly,
forehead down, arms in front,
said Amita. "This one is called
Pranamasana, or Prayer Pose."
Vagary wasn't good at spirituality,
but he understood submission just fine.
"Om," they chanted softly. "Ommmm ..."
The sound filled the room with resonance.
"Next we'll do Santosha, or contentment,"
said Amita. "Lie on your back, then lift into
Setu Bandha Sarvangasana, also known
as the Supported Bridge Pose."
Vagary obeyed, stretching himself
as he struggled to wrap his mind
around the idea of being satisfied
with just his own company.
He was making a little progress.
Beside him, Lem bent like a bow,
an arc of grace and power.
"Om shanti shanti shanti,"
they chanted, their voices
all blending together in
a prayer for peace.
"We come at last to
Samadhi, oneness with
all living things," said Amita.
"Lie on your front, make a triangle
with your arms, and arch your back up.
Lift your ankles off the floor. This is called
Kriya Asana Vanekom, the Salutation to Self."
Vagary folded himself into the arch and
waited, listening for Amita to continue.
"Imagine that you stop feeling separate
from everyone and everything around you,"
she said. "Let yourself dissolve and join
with the others in the room, and beyond,
reaching out into the world all around."
This was the part that Vagary thought
he might be starting to understand,
that feeling of melting away until
nothing bothered him anymore.
Sometimes, he imagined that
he could hear the stars humming.
"That's it, now lie down and roll
into Savasana, the Corpse Pose,"
Amita instructed. "You've done well.
Rest your mind and your body."
That was literally just lying there
on your back and pretending that
you were doing something with it.
After Amita let them up, everyone
gave their bodies a little shake and
reached for their water bottles.
"You're getting better at this,"
Quincy said, smiling at Vagary.
"I'd like to think so," Vagary said.
"I mean, it feels good while I'm
doing it, but I don't know if it's
really helping where it counts.
Sometimes it seems like I can't
change any of the things I want to."
Amita came over to Vagary and
patted him on the shoulder. "There
is always room for change, but
you have to be open to that change."
"Yeah man, the poses are just inspiration,"
Quincy said. "If you want to change, you
have to make it work from the inside out."
"That's why I'm taking yoga," Vagary said.
He kept hoping that, if he stretched
his body far enough, his soul might follow.
Whether it worked or not, at least
he could show Calliope that
he was really trying.
* * *
Quincy Vanderberg -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and brown hair that sticks up. He wears glasses and has a big nose. Although skinny, he has wiry muscles and is stronger than he looks. He is gay, and going steady with Lem Alberts. Quincy is majoring in English with a minor in Nonprofit Management, hoping to work for a literacy program or something like that. Lem is majoring in Recreational Management with a minor in Business Sustainability, aiming for park or community work. They met through the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. They are currently taking a year-long course in Marital Skills at the Tranquility Counseling Center, and they hope to get married after they graduate. Quincy is cuddly with boyfriend and platonic friends alike. A definite word nerd, he does poorly at deciphering images and has trouble with unlabeled icons or photos. Fortunately he has Lem to help compensate for that.
Qualities: Good (+2) Caring, Good (+2) Gay, Good (+2) Huggy Monkey, Good (+2) Stronger Than He Looks, Good (+2) Word Nerd
Poor (-2) Visual-Spatial Intelligence
Lem Alberts -- He has fair skin, brown eyes, and short curly brown hair. He is tall and gangly. He enjoys sports and is in good shape. He is gay, and going steady with Quincy Vanderberg. Lem is majoring in Recreational Management with a minor in Business Sustainability, aiming for park or community work. Quincy is majoring in English with a minor in Nonprofit Management, hoping to work for a literacy program or something like that. They met through the Spears School of Business at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater. They are currently taking a year-long course in Marital Skills at the Tranquility Counseling Center, and they hope to get married after they graduate. A natural leader, Lem inspires people toward better teamwork. However, he struggles with reading, and often turns to Quincy for help with the text portions of his homework. That's a key reason why Lem wants to find a job that involves playing and talking with people, rather than pushing papers around a desk.
Qualities: Good (+2) Athletic, Good (+2) Collector of Sports Memorabilia, Good (+2) Community Spirit, Good (+2) Gay, Good (+2) Leader
Poor (-2) Reading
Amita Templin -- She has fair skin, brown eyes, and shoulder-length hair streaked in lighter and darker shades of blonde. She is married with 3 children. Amita teaches yoga at the Tranquility Counseling Center in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Flexible and inspiring, she is popular with her students. High existential intelligence is an asset in a counseling context. However, she doesn't do nearly as well with logic.
Qualities: Expert (+4) Flexible, Good (+2) Existential Intelligence, Good (+2) Inspiring, Good (+2) Yoga Teacher
Poor (-2) Logical-Mathematical Intelligence
* * *
“There is always room for change, but you have to be open to that change.”
– Kathryn Budig
Swadhyaya Yoga is about self-study. Here's a sequence and a related video. Encourage self-study.
Dhyana focuses on meditation. Read about its benefits.
Ishwara Pranidhana aims for surrender. It can help get in touch with feelings.
Santosha is the study of contentment through yoga. Learn how to practice it.
Samadhi promotes oneness with all living things. Here are some things to focus on as you move toward samadhi.
Kriya Asana Vanekom is the Salutation Pose.