Staring out my bedroom window at the predawn darkness, awake on my mattress without a bedframe, I am thinking: twelve days. Twelve days until my life turns upside down and I leave behind Maryland, my family, and full-time yoga teaching to become a student in Amherst, MA. My mind tries, hopelessly, to devise scenarios for all the unknowns ahead of me. Spinning off ideas and precautions, it overrides my attempts to breathe more consciously. Tension peppers my neck and shoulders. Time is passing. I don’t know how much. But then I hear her. By some grace, a voice within interrupts. This voice isn’t the one that comes out of my mouth when I speak. In it, I hear Maya Angelou -- strong, wise, and direct:
“While you were busy waiting on perfection, your joy left the room.”
She opens my eyes. The dawn sky is showing off her colors in my window. Daisy dog is breathing soft and slow in her early morning revelry. The oak trees that pepper the yards on my street are showing off their summer splendor. As if just for me, the cicadas and birds are singing full on.
Joy is possible in every moment. I almost cry, but my dose of tears is so small it barely wets my eyelids then disappears. I feel a massive iceberg of emotions resting under the surface of my skin and waiting to emerge. And I think it’s supposed to be here. There is something magical about this containment. A deep intelligence holding me together and making sure I land safely in Massachusetts before any deep and derailing feelings can reverse my transition. Some part of me is drawing me inward and guiding me forward, step-by-step, day-by-day, to what must come next. I press my palms together and then lift my covers off. I want to follow joy. I want her to know that she’s invited to be in this room.
Hannah has been a student of yoga and meditation since 2003 and a practitioner of Ayurveda since 2013. She spent a decade teaching yoga classes and yoga teacher trainings throughout the metro-DC area. In August of 2019, she left full-time teaching to pursue a two-year Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She intends to combine yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda into speech therapy sessions with those struggling to share their voices. While she does not currently teach regular classes, you can study with her online through Insight Timer.