“Ekam (AAY-Kaam)” Begin: my arms move from their limp position up towards my chest, bending at the elbows and creating a prayer symbol with my thumbs touching the base of my sternum. Breathe in and out.
How do I have 12 days until I’m on a flight out of India?
"Dve (Dh-way)” Extend: My pressed together hands move in a vertical line, as if they’re being pulled by a string, until they reach above my head and shift backwards into a small back bend, eyes following to view the world behind me. Breathe in.
What have learned in 3-months while immersed in a brand-new culture?
“Trini (trenee)” Compress: Circling my head back in and keeping my hands still above my head, my palms begin to separate. They flatten towards the front of the room as though I’m pushing a cement block and move in a downward semicircle towards the ground. Fingertips, then palms and wrists flatten on the mat, head in my knees and a releasing strain firing in my hamstrings. Breathe out.
Do I know even a single phrase in Kannada?
“Cat-(Chaht-)” Separate: Keeping my hands put, my right heel lifts as weight shifts to my left foot. My right knee hugs to my chest and my body shifts slightly back, until my right leg is extended and backwards into a lunge, eyes between my hands. Breathe in.
Have I learned more about those around me or more about myself?
“-vari (-wharey)” Join: Hands the same, weight in my fingers and through edge of my hands, my left foot follows its complementary, knee tuck, body shift, and complete movement to meet its partner in a plank position. Breathe out.
Or was it that I only learned about myself from those around me?
“Panca (pancha)” Emerge: a push from the balls of my feet keeps my entire body immobile except for the 2-inch shift forward. My hands are now in line with my ribs, I bend my elbows 90 degrees until I feel my inner biceps touch my torso. Holding the precarious position, in one movement, I drop my lower back without touching the mat and simultaneously flip my feet so now my only hands and tip of my toes touch the mat, peeping out like a groundhog. Breathe in.
Will Coronavirus stop me from seeing my family in Vietnam?
"Sat (shaht)” Explode: Pushing back into my hands, distributing the weight evenly, and moving my lower back in a cat-like direction towards the sky. I naturally uncurl my toes until the pads of my feet are rejoined with the mat, turning my body into an upside-down V. Breathe out.
What am I going to tell my family when they ask a million questions about the program?
“Sapta (suhpta)” Reverse: With my hands still not changing and a slight shift of weight into my hands, my right foot lifts off the mat. Now hugging it to my chest, I shift forward through a plank, and silently place it on the mat toe by toe, inch my inch, until I’m in a familiar lunge, head facing forward. Breathe in.
Is my cough going to force me to self-quarantine?
“Astau (Ah-shtaow)” Rejoin: Letting my left leg follow suit to lift my heel off the mat, it repeats the same process until my feet meet again side by side with my body draping over my legs, head to my knees, and the same relieving strain coming back to my hamstrings. Breathe out.
What learnings do I want to bring back to my life in Seattle?
“Nava (nauwah)” Release: I slowly unwind to recycle the semicircle, this time upwards, head last to rise. Still pushing my hands against the cement block, my palms rejoin above my head in a familiar prayer grip and move slightly behind my view, eyes following as though I’m entering the water via a back dive. Breathe in.
How do I continue conversations that will change the world back home?
“Dasa (dheshau)” Restart: I cow my spine till its straight and follow the string back to home base, reverting to the original posture with my hands in prayer, thumbs pressed to my sternum head forward, feet touching, ready for more. Breathe out.
If I knew what I know now at the beginning of GCIL, how would it all be different?