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The Flyest Yogi Without a Mat

Octavia Raheem
Written by Octavia Raheem
The Flyest Yogi Without a Mat

“Does he do yoga?”

I get this question a lot. “Does your husband DO yoga?” I used to answer it immediately: “Yes” or “no,” depending on how I felt. Depending on who it was. I wasn’t always up for offering my spiraling response.

I have been having an affair with yoga since 2003. It’s been a sweaty, intoxicating, raw, revealing, and deep one. An affair that presses into all my other relationships, claims space, and demands a presence. The kind that I will leave work early for, step out on another date for, respond to a 5:30 am “call” for, spend my last dime for, leave the scene of a crime for… that kind of affair.

My man rarely unrolls the extra long Manduka mat that I have in my closet just for him. In fact. I think he never has. (Except for that one 108 event I persuaded him to attend.) He doesn’t know what Luon is, even though my fancy stretchy pants are spilling over into his regular sock drawer. Won’t catch him wearing headbands or bandanas tied around his forehead. There will be no mala beads. He won’t split a quinoa burger with me. He’s never tried to impress me with a handstand or arm balance, nor is he impressed with my attempts. He will give my chant music about 15 minutes (1/2 of one of Jai Uttal’s songs) before his ears start jonesin’ for some house, funk, hip hop, reggae, drum & bass, soul, etc. But, even then, he will listen and say “yes, I hear why YOU like this.”

Needless to say, he is not having an affair with yoga. Yet, he welcomes this 3rd entity into our marriage, without question, complaint, or judgment.

Despite. In spite. Or, perhaps because he doesn’t pose it. He lives it. He is the most present and mindful person I have met in 100 lifetimes. (And, I mean that, 100.)

He won’t fix his mouth to say ahisma and doesn’t subscribe to the holy church of veganism, but this is the man who will catch spiders and take them outside whilst his fingers whisper to them, be free.

He gets excited when our sunflowers and tomatoes start to blossom. He walks softly on the earth’s belly, not to disturb what is growing beneath his feet. He looks trees, birds, ladybugs, caterpillars, and people -- yes he looks people -- in the eye.

He understands that truth is a practice with risks worth taking.

He practices contentment as reverence for the smallest of things.

He has a steady warrior two stance. Like it’s natural in his tall, lithe, brown body. This sacred fighter who will not lift his hand to smash a spider…

So, he does not DO yoga. He practices it. Wherever he finds himself is his mat. Life is his guru. His very walk, an infinite vinyasa.

Without posing or fixing to hold a stance, he props his heart open wide, every inhale and exhale a peace offering to a wild, wild world.

And in BEING, he quietly beckons me to become a dance beyond the boundaries of my mat… to stretch the confines of my reality, yet keep my feet strongly grounded, rooted.

This way, he inspires me to rise.

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