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How to Receive: A Lesson in Grace through Yoga

By Jennie LaFortune

“Unclench your jaw.” “Let your shoulders relax.” “Now sit.” “Release.” “What are we, dogs?” my mind mumbled.  I noted my immediate snark then tried to focus, focus, focus, but the more I ordered my mind to be still the more it ran away. I had recently learned that the word yoga is a Sanskrit word …

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Fall, Stand

By Emily Milner

I open the door to the little yoga studio and walk down the steps. The air smells spicy. I roll out my mat, find a spot on the floor, bring my hands to heart center when the instructor tells me to. I am the only person in the class, which I don’t mind. Today it’s good to be alone, to have no one else but the instructor. There’s an awkwardness that comes with exercising in a group when I’m so overweight. There’s a risk that I will have to admit, when I’m asked to jump to the front of my mat, that I have to step because when I jump my belly gets in the way of my legs going where they are supposed to. There’s the way I wonder if people are wondering, what is she doing here? Isn’t she too fat for this?

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Finding the Ease

By Emily Milner

I stand in warrior one, basic yoga, my back foot flattened, my arms lifted, fingers splayed.
“Engage the hands,” my teacher says. “Deepen the bend in your front knee. See how far down you can come.”

I engage my hands, deepen the bend. “Now hold,” she says. “We’re going to be here for a while.”

So I hold, and she keeps talking. “Pull your thighs into midline,” she says. My thighs cooperate, a little. “Find the ease of the pose.”

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