Coming back to teaching after the accident is a little like taking a sea kayak out beyond the breakers.  First, I have to get to the studio.

I sit in my new car with my essential oils and car diffuser–lavender for the drive.  My neck is still angry, and I settle with difficulty against the neck rest, backing up at about the pace an elderly person might choose.  I’ve navigated this parking lot thousands of times–still, I’m alert to every flicker of movement as I pull away from the apartment.  Once on the roadway, I feel torn between wanting a clear view ahead of me and wanting to not change lanes.  I’ve purposely left early in order to avoid traffic and have time to calm down, if needed, before my students arrive.  Clearly, I will need that calming down time.  I congratulate myself on having made a good choice.

At every stop light, I leave a preposterous gap before me and then eye my rearview mirror, breathing out hard and measured as I watch each car slow and stop behind me.  I remind myself how lucky I am that my friend Shanice loaned me her sunglasses, flinching against the glare of headlights.  I eye the driver behind me again, and having satisfied myself the the older white dude behind me is both stopped and paying attention, I close my eyes and breathe more deeply.  Lavender.  I remember there is medication in my purse now, for anxiety–just in case.  I hate medication and have resisted it at every turn, until my symptoms were so distressing I couldn’t handle them myself.  This morning, I will be handling things myself.

Too many stop lights later, I arrive at Durham Yoga.  I choose a spot away from the street and walk in.  I have a half hour.  Walking up the stairs, I notice how the dim hallway lighting bothers me.  I am agitated, my neck hurts, and my head has that unpleasant pressure sensation I get now from stress.  The fliers outside the door are different from last time I was here.  There’s one for my June Yoga For Trauma Recovery series, and I smile at the picture; me sitting outside on a spring day with a group of my students.  I open the door.  Walking in feels like coming home; I tear up a little.

I walk to the front of the room, unroll the mat, stand on it and close my eyes.  Traffic noise from the window behind me.  Nope.  I move the mat to the side of the room, stand on it, close my eyes, and begin my practice.

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