This Is Yoga

I looked to my left and see a diamond, can’t be more than 14 years old. Her thick black hair tossed up at the top of her head as she stared at her reflection in the mirror.
She was small, but strong and was contorting her body in ways I could only imagine to do with my own. I felt wrong watching her. As if I were invading a sacred space. I was in awe of the strength and immense power that vibrated through her mat onto the hardwood. I could feel it seep into my own. I could feel it bleed into my veins. I was imagining what would happen if she utilized every speck of matter that radiated throughout her body.

14 years old,
She couldn’t be more than just 14,
and as I remembered myself at 14,
I remembered life was always too serious to be played with,
I remember holding hands under picnic tables and counting the seconds until sweet met clammy,
I remember hiding in oversized sweatshirts that smelled like him,
I remember everything revolved around another human.

And I so desperately wanted to hold her close and stroke her hair, begging her not to let them suck the life out of her lungs just yet, whoever “them” may be.
I wanted to tell her to deeply breathe in the winter and breathe out the poison that takes and convinces her that she is nothing without their robotic-like attention.
She was watching herself in the mirror, and I knew she was critiquing every freckle, every scar.
I knew because I’ve done the same so many times before.
And I began to ache,
for she has yet to realize how precious she is.

I was brought back to the present and realized my body was soaking with sweat. I looked to my right at a woman in her 50s. Her movement was delicate like each of her limbs. I looked at her skin, beautiful, olive. I wondered if she realized the extent of the woman that is her. Her hair the color of a Carolina harvest, short and free, leaving her high cheekbones on full display. I wondered if she had it all figured out, as she let out a breath onto her mat. I could feel her strength, and I grabbed on tight.

This woman to my right, this girl to my left.
I was in awe of both.

And I began to wonder if maybe they looked at me the same way,
to their left,
to their right,
Praying I too utilize my inner goddess.
Begging me to stop critiquing, stop underestimating, stop wasting the glitter in my lungs.
Too much fire in our bones to be held down by the idea of a version of ourselves that doesn’t even exist.

We are so much more than what we aren’t.

But we let them pick at us as if they were vultures, and we were roadkill.

Whoever “them” may be.

I stepped outside of myself and looked down at the women in the room. Perceptions of old and young. Short and tlall.
Fearless energy from mothers and sisters, daughters and healers. Hearts all beating the same.
All bodies being curated into something new, but the blood pumping through each of our veins keep us alive.
We are alive in that moment, breathing the same oxygen, being wrung with sweat by the same heat.
The beauty of woman in one space, begging each beating heart…to stop allowing “them” dictate who we see in the mirror.

Whoever “them” may be; parents, husbands, children, careers, regrets, fear, death, perfection we see on billboards and screens.

I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, shaking the room until it breaks.

They don’t exist.
They don’t exist.
They don’t exist.

Only we do, in this moment, together, as one.

I look to my left and see a diamond, can’t be more than 14 years old.

And I thought to myself, “This is yoga.”


Emily Gordon
Author: Emily Gordon
Author Bio: Writer. Vegan. Travel. Yoga. Making love to my body by bathing her in oils. A dog is a cat is a fish is a pig as are you, as am I.
Link to social media or website: Instagram @yogicarolina




More From Poetry

I’ve walked among the dead

by Nara Hodge

Love? I don’t know love.

by AM . ALI

Who Are The Women We Fight For?

by sorajl

A Love Letter To You

by Liem

I AM (an artist)

by Dani Cowan

One response to “This Is Yoga

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *