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01:31 AM Yoga

Rebooting my brain at the airport before a 6 hour flight.

Illustration by Sílvia Bastos

As the clock strikes 01:23 AM I realize that almost everything I was supposed to do today is now finished.

I am exhausted, which doesn’t surprise me since I spent last night on an overnight bus to Bangkok. My flight to Tokyo is in a bit less than 5 hours. I won’t be sleeping tonight either.

There is only one last thing left: one hour daily yoga practice.

I can pretend it’s okay and forget about it, but I’ve been doing it everyday for the past 20 days and I’m not going to stop now. In fact, let’s cut the crap. I get up and pick up my yoga mat. I roll it on the floor in a spot a bit less exposed and I put my headphones on.

I am doing this. Yoga at the airport at 01:31 AM.

Child’s pose.

The soothing voice of the yoga instructor begins to sink me into relaxation. I am too tired to feel self-conscious about people who might stare at me, but my body is all tense from two days of travel. As I breathe and stretch my arms as far as I can, my mind slowly wanders into a place of bliss.

Downward facing dog flows into plank.

I drop my body gracefully and hover above the ground with a wild smile on my face. Who am I to do this kind of thing? Yoga? Commitment? I can barely recognize myself, but I enjoy this new upgraded version of me. Three months ago I would snack on chocolate and chips.

I bend my back backwards floating into upward facing dog. My mind cuts across the clouds with a pulsating glow. I am fully awake and present in my body.

First flow finds me strong.

A Thai family of five sits near by as I flow through a relentless series of back bends and planks. The kids drop their phones to watch me. I smile and continue to flow. I am energy and nothing can stop me now. My breath carries me through the poses, just as the wind carries a sailboat through the ocean.

Chair pose is a challenge.

I sigh loudly as I bend my knees and lift my arms high towards the sky. When I begin to cleanse my lungs with breath of fire, two janitors arrive with a loud cleaning machine. I push the air out repeatedly, as they swipe the floor around me. I close my eyes. I am one with my breath, with the janitors, the machine, the airport and the whole world. I open my eyes and my mind is clear. Tiredness is gone and so are the janitors.

Plank and lower down again. Upward dog and back up to another crescent.

Calm and entranced, I let pure energy flow through my body and do what it has to do. I trust the process. It feels amazing to fly through the poses, observing my body move, with a smile. I feel confident. With every breath intensity builds up. I can feel the climax coming, just like an orgasmic release.

I exhale light with lion’s breaths.

This moment feels surreal. I beam out more energy I could ever imagine myself to contain. The Thai family of five keeps looking as I rise up into the last standing pose, with grace, stability and a deep sense of calmness. I am a sculpture, one of the old masters’ works. I’m naked and pure, displaying the agility of the human body. My muscles are made of marble, my eyes of emeralds. My mind is an old redwood tree, stretching towards the Sun with the wisdom of centuries.

After the last standing pose I land on my back.

My belly flies up forming the bridge, and then wheel pose. It’s the first time I manage the latter. I can’t believe myself, as my back bends deeply into the pose.

Plow pose.

My back stretches deep into the other side. I touch the ground with my feet and relax into it. The session is almost over. For the first time I realize that I did it.

Shavasana.

I’m melting into the concrete floor of the airport. I’m light as a feather. Nothing else exists.


I pack my things and move to the check-in gate. Nothing can shutter my equanimity and deep sense of peace. With a warm smile on my face I cross the security. In a few hours I’ll be in Japan.

I am ready.