We drive out past Boulder, into the country. Up a winding road and suddenly we’re in the mountains. A few minutes later, we turn in a gravel drive and climb: up, up, up. A gorgeous log-cabin style house comes into view and we find a parking space among the many other cars. I gather my things and follow my friends into the house. I’m nervous.
My friend Margaret has invited me to join her and her group of friends for a celebration of the spring equinox. A gathering of women where we will renew ourselves and create a vision for our future. I’m so excited to be included, but I don’t know these women and I’m afraid I’ll feel like an outsider.
We enter the house and see a kitchen full of women: cooking, snacking, laughing, smiling. Margaret introduces me and instead of polite smiles I get hugs. Every single woman comes up to me and hugs me and looks me in the eye and learns my name. I’m not a huge fan of hugs, but I’ve been coming around to it lately and I love this.
After a few more minutes of welcomes and snacks and settling in we’re ready to do yoga. There’s a back porch overlooking the mountains and a pine woods. We decide to do yoga out here and we set out our yoga mats, creating spaces and places for fifteen women to stretch and bend. Some of the women have brought their children (I left Adeline at home) and they scamper about, deciding whether to do yoga or play video games (video games win, at least for now).
Margaret is in yoga teacher training and this is her first time teaching a class. She has decided to do it here, surrounded by her friends, immersed in the beauty of this place. She begins the session with some deep breaths and oms, then she asks us to focus on “I am” – to envision what we want to be and to manifest that through our yoga. I am strong. I am free. I am creative. I am loved.
We start doing poses and I feel myself opening up. I feel the hardened scales of months of studying and sedentariness begin to fall away. I feel my breath travel, not just into the tops of my lungs, but into my belly, into my legs, into my entire being. It’s a windy day and the howl of the wind creates a background music that fills my soul. It cools my body, leaving me invigorated and awakened.
About halfway through the session we gather in a circle and do tree pose. We lose our balance in the wind and topple about, setting down feet and laughing. Then we all hold each others’ hands and do it again. Where we were all unsteady before, now we stand strong and supported.
Suddenly one of the little girls breaks into the circle. She stands in the middle and looks around at all of us. I follow her eyes and see what she sees. Strong, happy women. All different body shapes, different appearances, different ages. Women who support each other, who build each other up rather than tearing each other down. I feel tears forming in my eyes. I want Adeline to see this. I want Adeline to be surrounded by women like this as she grows and matures and learns what it means to be a woman.
After a few more moments, we break up the circle and continue the session. At the end, we lie on our mats, relaxing and coming to a place of peace. I open my eyes and look up: the branches of a pine tree wave in my field of view. Blue sky and clouds drift by above that. I gaze at this beauty and feel empowered and energized, yet calm and steady.
After yoga we create vision boards: a visual representation of what we want to manifest in our lives over the next year or more. We drink mimosas and flip through magazines. At one point we all sing together. I look around at the different boards, at what we each want for ourselves. I see the differences, but I see the similarities too. We want positive things, we want peace, we want love, we want strength, we want a life with meaning.
As evening comes a storm rises, then fades away again. In the setting sun I leave to go back home to my husband and my daughter and my life. I feel renewed and recharged. I am ready to take on life again. I am strong. I am.