Staying Put

My husband is peeling a banana and talking on the phone. Tilda is getting antsy; she wants a treat (who knew dogs liked bananas?) and is ready for her morning walk. My coffee cup is empty, and I’m beginning to feel the pangs of hunger. I look outside and admire the way certain leaves positively glow as they absorb the light and energy of the sun. I stretch. I am sore. I attended a yoga class yesterday - the first in a really long time - the kind that involves a pretty steady flow, intense balance sequences and more sweat than seems reasonable for such small moves. For a long time the idea of a “flow” yoga class felt intimidating - all those chaturangas and energetic sun salutations. I was content with a beginner-level practice, thinking I wasn’t capable of anything more, until I wandered into the wrong class by mistake a few years ago in Santa Monica and ended up in a Level 3 Vinyasa flow class taught by an instructor named Kia Miller. As soon as the class started, I realized my mistake and was tempted to panic, but instead decided, “What’s the worst that can happen?” and stayed on my mat.

It was the most challenging class I’d ever taken. And I loved it.

I went up to Kia afterward and explained to her what had just happened - that I ended up in her class by mistake, and was so happy I did. A woman next to her listened the conversation and then said to me, “I read your blog.” This woman ended up attending a workshop I offered in the studio I was renting that summer. A year or so later I was facilitating a workshop at Esalen, and who strolls by me but Kia Miller, also there to teach a workshop. She had a lot of students to take care of that week, so I didn’t approach her to say hello, but emailed her a note afterwards to say, “I took your class by mistake a few years ago and loved it, and was so happy to cross paths with you again unexpectedly in Big Sur.” Turns out Ms. Miller is a big deal (she just graced the cover of Yoga Journal), but she wrote back immediately, complimenting my artwork and appreciative I reached out. She has popped up in my periphery a few times since then as well - social media has enabled these connections flow easier - and has become one of those twinkling stars in my awareness, a reminder of the gifts that await us when we’re willing to relinquish control and dive into the unknown. It was only one yoga class, but it was one that got me over a self-imposed hurdle. Because I chose to stay put that day, I discovered I was capable of more than I realized. Because I’ve continued to run into Ms. Miller - at Esalen, on the cover of magazines, on Instagram - the memory has been sealed in resin, always there for me to hold up to the light and admire the bright glow within.

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide