Brick wall whitewashed to look new old. Worn floors refinished, wood polished, shining. Mats a safe six feet apart in this, our first class in the yoga studio since being forced into solitary practice seven weeks ago. Faint acoustic music from the Bluetooth. Benign renditions of a change to come and my sweet lord. Diffused patchouli mist tussles with the alcohol in homemade hand sanitizer. The instructor tells us when to breathe. I was in India when the pandemic took over the world. One day Holi, slapping powdered color on friends and strangers alike, rubbing it into their hair, more intimate in the playfulness than we would be otherwise. Bollywood bass lines thumping the speakers. Colors running in rivers of sweat. The next day, weighing options. Can we get back into the States? I don’t want to leave a thousand kindnesses. The drumming of the Shiva temple in the morning. An entire nation of incense and marigolds. Breathing, rhythmic, human yoga. Inhale, she says, arms above your head. Exhale, fall into forward bend, and we comply, an army of six following field commands in unison. The tips of my fingers feel the hardness of the thin-matted floor. In the position’s hold I think of the flower market in Jaipur, mounds of marigolds, like walking through the clouds of a Hindu heaven, fighting the urge to jump into one, the petals cushioning the fall.
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