When I’m at a conference with Yoga Woman, she’ll stop me in the hall and say, “We’re meeting for yoga tomorrow at 7 a.m. Bring your mat.”
This is what I love about Yoga Woman. She thinks I’m the kind of person who gets up at 7 a.m. to do yoga.
The truth, of course, is that I don’t even own a yoga mat, but buoyed by Yoga Woman’s confidence in me, I’ll drag myself out of bed after about three hours of sleep, fold my blanket into a mat-shaped rectangle, and trudge out into the morning to meet for yoga. She’s an amazing woman – smart, articulate, compassionate – and I want to be just like her, even if that includes doing exercise at a most ridiculous hour.
As difficult as it is to get my body moving after a late night of hanging out with my conference friends, I have to admit that stretching my muscles in the cool of the morning, listening while Yoga Woman’s voice gives patient instructions, calms the conference buzzing in my head and brings me back into my body. I’m always glad I did yoga, and inevitably I think, “Maybe I should do this more than once each year.”
At conferences, the early morning yoga group is often given a dusty classroom, a hard linoleum floor, or some corner of a building that no one is using. The setting is usually pretty forgettable. It wasn’t until our get-together this June that I had a chance to do early morning yoga in a place that seemed perfect to me — on the beach alongside waves that spread foam in patterns on the wet sand.
After the yoga and some meditation, we walked back up the wooden steps to the beach house to eat breakfast. I was eating fresh blueberries and looking at photos of Yoga Woman’s grandchildren when I suddenly realized I'd made a mistake. I'd taken a photo at the end of the yoga session, but Yoga Woman was WEARING CLOTHES in the picture. I thought about the duty I had to my readers, and I spoke up right away, “Hey, I need a naked photo of you! How about a yoga pose?”
Yoga Woman was stretching her legs even while we looked at the photos of her grandchildren, so I figured it would be easy. She just needed to take off her clothes. She shrugged. “Okay.”
“Um, and can you go out on the deck?” I asked. “I prefer natural light. I’m sure the neighbors are still sleeping.”
She put down her coffee and walked out onto the deck, where she may or may not have been hidden by tree branches, and I snapped the photo quickly.
None of my other friends even looked up from breakfast. The naked photography doesn’t even surprise any of them any more. Perhaps it’s because we’ve spent hours talking about our bodies, from sex to menopause to what it means to be a DES daughter.
Or perhaps, like white-tailed deer, my friends and I just get habituated quickly, no longer stopping to stare at the headlights, but just grazing along the road no matter where the journey takes us.
Read more about the history of the naked blogging project and check out the gallery of photos.