Sunrise Flow

At the culmination of my 200-hour yoga teacher training with American Yoga School under the tutelage of James Brown, we were asked to turn in a final essay describing a day in the life of our future selves.

Quite pleasant to read along to the Her movie soundtrack.

I wake up.

There’s a slow ease to it, waking up. Like how a song cross fades into the next; I gradually stream this transition from unconscious to subconscious to awakened consciousness. My eyes slowly blink open, and while the scenery of crashing waves and pulling undertows from my dream lingers on, it gradually fades out and melts into the darkness of the room.

It’s still dark outside; a canvas of twilight with a faint swirl of tomorrow looms overhead. The sound of sleep is the only audible noise.

I stretch—my arms and limbs reaching out to the opposite sides of the room, pulling from the tips of my fingers and toes. My spine, awakened and lengthened, curls slightly as I roll over to my right side and my feet find the warm nakedness of the wooden floor. It’s funny how there is barely any distance between my bed and the floor, but feel dramatically separate—physically and figuratively—sort of like how two nations are separated by a 2-metre bridge and a sign.

My feet lead me to my coffee maker, and my hands immediately start the mechanical process of my daily morning ritual. I feel a slight thump in my chest as I take in the bold aroma of the coffee grounds; I get this surge of anticipation each and every time I set out for that first cup of the day. This batch of beans is special; it had just arrived yesterday, from an old friend that I had met only once while I was backpacking in Northern Kerala, India several years ago. On the day we met, she and her family took me along for a walk through a coffee forest. Later on she told me that her family owned the plot of land the forest was on and she meant to finally get on the tedious process of claiming it. In the parcel containing the 5 kilograms of coffee grounds was a note: “Remember the forest we walked through many, many years ago in Kerala? These are the fruits and I want you to enjoy it. And I hope you remember that you now have a place to call home in Wyanand and that you will never have to be lost again and search for a hotel before sunrise.”  

As the coffee begins to brew and its warm aroma slowly wafts throughout the room, I unroll my mat on the wood and my feet take their usual place.  At the top of the mat, feet parallel, the second toes in line with the back of my ankles, the mounds of my feet grounded on the mat and rooted to the wooden panels beneath it. I close my eyes and take my first inhale; a wave of fresh oxygen immediately travels through every passageway of my respiratory system, my diaphragm contracting only to flare as carbon dioxide is flushed out on the exhale. On the next breath, my feet still firmly planted on the floor, my chest slowly reaches forward, hingeing from my hips, my spine still lengthening, until the crown of my head finds itself a few inches above the mat. My nose grazes the skin of my shin, ever so lightly, as my palms firmly press against the mat. And here, my entire body begins to connect with the ground, the rubbery fibre of the yoga mat, the aged wood of the floor, the solid earth beneath it. And here, we flow.

Awareness slowly returns to my body as I resurface from Savasana. The smell of fresh coffee, swimming throughout the room, beckons for me to get up and follow to the kitchen. A faint wave of steam coyly teases from my cup.

Rays of sun light have trickled in, illuminating shapes and casting shadows against the wooden panels. My robust tuxedo cat  suddenly springs from his perch on the cupboard, nearly knocking my coffee out of my hand. I don’t have to turn to check what jolted his attention; faint footsteps treading to the refrigerator and the food bin signal that there is food—breakfast is ready. (There’s a reason why that cat resembles more like a round penguin than a sleek Tom in a tux.) Before I can shake my head in disapproval and remind about the dangers of overfeeding animals, a bowl of fresh fruit appears in front of me, followed by a plate full of warm, crusty bread and several slices of cheese. And I dig in, with a feeble attempt at masking my ravenous appetite with a sheepish grin. A hand tousles my hair, pretty much the same way I rub the cat’s belly. As he takes a sip of the coffee, plain and black and without a drop of milk or sugar, I peer at him from the top of the magazine I’m reading. He is in pause, letting the flavour notes linger and slowly sink in. His eyes, pale jade against the light, meet mine. He nods, “That. Is. Good.”

I’m glad, and I agree, and let him know that this batch of bread is superb and his bread-making skills are now highly commendable. And we sit like this for a while, in pause, to the sound of food munching and paper rustling, and a fat cat’s purring.

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