Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Half way through the yoga class Susanna talks us through the Padma Mudra. We kneel, palms facing the floor, wrist against wrist, fingers hanging downwards.
“The roots of the lotus flower”, says Susanna, “reaching deep into the mud.” We press our wrists together.
We reverse the position, drawing the hands through. The fingers point heavenwards, thumbs and little fingers of both hands touching, the remaining fingers forming a flower shape. Susanna guides us into a short meditation on the lotus in full bloom.
The silence and the simple grace of the mudra are powerful.
The class continues. Cobra. Camel. Resting Locust. Spinal twist. Corpse posture. The breathwork the string holding the beads together. Time to go home. My right shoulder still twinges but for the first time in many days I am calm and my body is temporarily at peace. This calls for celebration: long-stemmed yellow lilies and a taxi instead of the bus.
The young woman driver is dark and wiry and has an accent.
“Are you Polish?”, I ask.
“No” she replies, “Brazilian.”
She tells her story. A failed marriage to a Brit whom she had met in Brazil. Three years ago they parted but by now she has a young son.She decides to stay in England: this is the only country that her boy has ever known. She works in a supermarket then decides she needs more flexibility, so goes into the taxi business.The last time she saw her family in South America was seven years ago.
At a red traffic light she spots an English friend. Leaning forward over the steering wheel she waves animatedly.
"When I was a child in Brazil I never imagined my life would be like this", she says without self pity. A simple statement of fact. She didn't sound unhappy. Not at all.