It’s 6 o’clock. My boyfriend is picking me up in an hour to celebrate two years together with a dinner date. I had a long, stressful day at work, just got home, and now have to rush into the next activity without pause. Father time did not permit me to practice yoga today, and I’m feeling tense, frustrated, and in no mood for romance.
He calls to sweetly say he’s excited for our night out, and I respond in a rushed and somewhat annoyed tone. Frustrated with my inability to move past the day, I hop into a hot shower, asking the water to cleanse it away. But it’s not enough. I feel trapped inside my own body, unable to relax into my surroundings. In short, I need some yoga.
With no time to unfurl my mat, I start to do some simple poses as I shower. I fold over my legs, letting the tension release from my hamstrings, bending one knee and twisting my opposite hand high to the sky. I create a simple cycle of standing forward bends, half lifts, and radiant extended Mountain poses, stretching my arms high and allowing a small back bend. I’m clearing my mind as the water rains down, releasing the tension created by sitting at my desk all day.
I step out of the shower, put on my robe, and grab my makeup bag. Instead of standing hunched over the counter and peering into the mirror as usual, I take a cross-legged seat on the floor next to my full-length mirror. As I add some color, I move from Bound Angle to Hero and finally into Half Lord of the Fishes Pose, applying my mascara over my left shoulder. Maybe it’s not as mindful as my normal practice, but it is effective. My spine enjoys a sweet release.
Coming back to standing, I reach for my hair dryer and begin in a Wide-Legged Forward Bend, letting my head fall heavy—and adding volume to my do at the same time. Coming back to standing, lifting my right leg into a deep Tree Pose for what I’m expecting to be a rather routine asana. I quickly realize that the hot air from the blow dryer feels like an island breeze. I shake my hair and dance my free arm back and forth. Suddenly I am a palm tree swaying in the tropical wind on a deserted beach somewhere in Hawaii. I feel beautiful, present, and, finally, excited. My pre-date practice is complete.
I hear my boyfriend knock at the door and instead of anxiety for want of time, I feel grounded and happy. My heart is open, I’m ready to give and receive love.
Hillary Gibson is the Web Editorial Intern at Yoga Journal and studies English at the University of California Berkeley.