A yogic love story
Jay always noticed Lydia in yoga class. She had the perfect vinyasa; her knees never touched the floor in an upward dog. She even balanced in side crow with her slender arms unwavering.
Jay was a widower who took up yoga to help cope with his wife’s passing. He once had sandy brown hair, now left with only stubble around his bald head that formed a halo.
It wasn’t only Jay distracted in the yoga class. Lydia had looked numerous times to the rear of the studio, and Jay was sure that it was him she was eyeballing, stealing furtive glances in camel and wheel. But she had a partner, attending class with Robert, a frizzy-haired, nasty-smelling man who often stumbled sideways in tree pose.
Jay wondered why Lydia was with a man who was such a klutz, constantly distracting people with his unsteady, stumbling transitions. Even when Robert was in happy baby, his heavy panting broke everyone’s concentration.
Usually, Robert and Lydia’s mats lie side by side during the class, her Lululemon and Robert’s Manduka. They shared the same towels, and both wore gripping socks specifically made for yoga.
So, it surprised Jay when Robert didn’t show up with Lydia. They seemed inseparable. It must have been a tragedy, thought Jay. Perhaps Robert fell victim to an avalanche or trapped down a mineshaft.
Jay got up sufficient courage to approach Lydia.
“Is Robert okay?” Jay asked.
Lydia looked at Jay as a lone tear dropped to the bamboo floor. “He’s not coming anymore.”
“Seriously ill?” asked Jay, struggling to hide his joy.
“Robert’s fine. It’s us. We split up.”
“You mean you’re no longer a couple?” Jay said, trying to restrain a smile.
“Yeah, he had a bad case of yoga toe. He refused to attend any yoga classes, even restorative. We had a little disagreement; accused him of not being a dedicated yogi, too dependent on belts and blocks, using injuries as an excuse. Things got out of hand, and he packed up his Grateful Dead albums, patchouli incense, bongos, and left.”
“Sad to hear about that, Lydia.”
Jay noticed a lock of Lydia’s strawberry blonde hair. She had such thick hair for a woman of her age, long, smooth, and full of bounce. Jay also noticed Lydia’s nicely tanned legs. There was not one mole to blemish them, not even a varicose vein.
“Shall we go to Starbucks?” Lydia asked.
Jay was like a bashful schoolboy. “Of course,” he said, blushing even at 64.
They walked to Starbucks. Lydia ordered an expresso, Jay a black coffee with extra sugar. Hours of chatting passed as the two talked about buying the best sustainable yoga mats to wearing sacral belts to support the sacrum.
Both took turns breathing through one nostril at a time, opening up their blocked chakras. Jay acknowledged that his throat chakra gave him the most concern; hers was the crown. When Jay was with Lydia, he imagined floating above a mountaintop, looking over a majestic valley; Lydia saw a turquoise sea gazing into Jay’s eyes.
“Want to stop by my houseboat?” Lydia asked.
“Sure,” Jay said. “Never been on one of those before.”
“Quite cozy. You’ll love it.”
Inside were singing bowls, Buddhist chants from a wall speaker, and paintings of Indian Gods and Goddesses. Her tiny yoga goat, Sam, who Jay thought was a dog initially, came over and sniffed his feet. Lydia lit a stick of incense that reminded Jay of a Cream concert he attended years ago.
Lydia admired how Jay did headstands and worked his core. It was a miracle. Jay was what she desired in a man. While Robert may have looked progressive, he didn’t take good care of his body, preferred meat to salads, and sleeping to meditation. The only reason she stayed with him was because of his huge collection of Grateful Dead albums.
Lydia rubbed Jay’s bristly cheek that felt similar to Sam’s whiskers. She kissed Jay on the mouth and said he has a loving aura. “You are like Shiva,” she said, “an omnipresent yogi who warms my heart chakra.”
Jay returned the kiss, whispering, “You’re a beautiful Kundalini yogini, lighting the fire in my belly.”
The two held each other as Sam tried to climb on Jay’s back. They completed another slow vinyasa, laid on their mats for the final pose, breathing in harmony.
Just then, their Drishti was interrupted by a knock on the door.
“Shall I answer that?” Jay asked.
“It’s Robert. He’s coming for his bolster and Birkenstocks. Let him wait until we’re finished with savasana. He knows I don’t answer when I’m in the middle of my practice.”
Robert peeked into the boat's window and saw Lydia and Jay holding hands in their final pose. Stepping back from the window in shock, he walked toward the bow. He unraveled the dock rope from the horn cleat, attached it to the back end of his motorcycle, and pulled the boat from the wharf, watching the vessel drift down the marina.
Lydia, Jay, and Sam continued savasana, not feeling any movement outside of their relaxed breathing. Their eyes covered in a warm cloth, fingers and hooves entwined. Minds free of all worries during their meditation. Destination unknown.