Some people move money around. Others launder their money. I move laundry around. I hang my wet clothes on the line remember them a little later and its already snowing a few inches. I go out, shake them off, bring clothes in, open closet doors an inch, toss a sheet over door edge. I fling leggings over shower curtain rod and close dresser drawers on edges of shirts. I hang clothes over drawer and door knobs. The next day, sunny again, some clothes go back outside. I bring them in when it begins to rain. Waistbands, button holes, hems, aren’t quite dry. I loosely pile socks on top of shirts on top of pants. Next day, I shake the dog and cat hair out, fold and roll clothes, lay them in their categories and place them in their drawer. I close drawers except for one in case Easy, the cat, wants to sleep there, on my clothes.
I look up “money laundering” and read the three steps are: 1. Placement. 2. Layering. 3. Integration.
The first time I hear the expression, “Practice, not performance” I am lying on my back, eyes closed, slowly rolling my right leg in and then out. Naropa, late 90s. The teacher speaks to a room of 50. Even though I’m on my back, eyes closed, I am performing lying on my back, eyes closed. The me and the performer of my actions split. I exhale and drop the self- improvement project of becoming someone.
Last week driving to Mead was so cold I had my warmest winter hat on in the car with the heater full blast. At the red light on Pace and 17th here comes a woman in boots with heels, her jacket unzipped, no hat, her red hair in a perfect bob. She crosses in front of me. No gloves. In her right hand she holds a paper cup. In her left, a paper plate with danish and paper napkin, elbows slightly bent; her breakfast straight in front of her. She walks with fast small clickings. Her expression is hopeful, excited or maybe it’s the expression of going someplace.
Later that afternoon on the Diagonal and Niwot road there is a man who stands with his shopping cart loaded with his things. He holds a sign. He wants something from us, the people in cars. I wonder how the insight arrived to him that he could put his things in a shopping cart. When did the backpack become too loaded down.
In Yoga we move our bodies around. “Asana” means seat. Yoga means balance. Practices like Yoga asana liberate the pain of ambition, stress, and familiar pain in between my shoulder blades. Students ask, “Where am I supposed to feel this?” They ask “What is this posture good for?” Specific postures are for back pain, mental anguish, sorrow, grief and anger and the extroversion that comes with speed and multitasking and piling on protective layers of self -validation. BKS Iyengar’s, Light on Yoga lists sequences for diarrhea, memory, chills, constipation, epilepsy, insomnia, piles, ulcers, sciatica and varicose veins.
The Yoga positions do not like being ignored. They’ll bite back when I am not looking or if I practice with ambition. The mindful Yoga practice might is meditating with the body. The result of a little matsyandransa and exhale through the right nostril and a long savasana is that the three- decker cake rises, the stream down the mountain flips over rocks, the discussion with my mother isn’t so rocky, the sun rises and goes down and night covers everything. After I practice I think, I don’t know if that was balance or imbalance— but it was good enough. The mindful asana practice with its various postures open windows to an inside track, switch us on to the broad channel band width.
Maybe it matters less what I practice but how. The posture that makes one person feel buoyant will make another peaceful depending on how her cells whirled together at birth, and what she has been up to for the past 24 hours and 24 years. If I am paying attention Yoga itself collaborates with the body to seek a way to balance my experience.
One type of balance is like balancing an egg during the moment when the tides turn at the Spring equinox. This balance of a practice treats whatever your ailments happen to be. Skin fluctuates and breathes—hands are placed on the floor under shoulders and now over knees and now nature does the rest.
No different than moving your shopping cart, full of stuff, or your breakfast to your office desk, sitting down and taking the lid off of a steaming cup of coffee, or hanging all your things on the line to dry.