I am sitting in the dim light, a Tibetan bowl in my right hand and a small wooden mallet in my left. Bodies surround me, flat out on the floor in total stillness. The air is warm, the room is quiet.
I hold up the bowl in front of my chest. I lift the mallet to strike the bowl, but then I pause. I gaze about the room and sigh in relief and happiness. These twelve beautiful bodies look so lovely and so tranquil. Peace has settled into the room.
I can barely bear to break the silence. These bodies, which just 90 minutes ago entered the room filled with angst and unease, now see so light and so lovely, so tranquil and at home.
I smile and let the peace of the room sink into my bones, too. I issue a silent thank you to the wondrous, mysterious discipline of yoga, which has worked its magic yet again, transforming angst into ease, tension into softness, darkness into light.
Bowl still held high, I survey the room. The utter silence tells me that no one is yet ready to reemerge from the deep peace that has been found. My eyes settle on the student just before me. I offer up a silent round of metta, or lovingkindness meditation, to this beautiful soul, whispering within, "May you be filled with lovingkindness. May you be well. May you be peaceful and at ease. May you be happy."
I move on to the next student, and then the next, until I have sprinkled a little blessing upon every body in the room. I offer up one last blessing for all of us - may we all be filled with lovingkindness - and then I look up at the clock and sigh, knowing I really do need to wrap up class.
But I cannot break the silence, not just yet. The community of friends that has developed here somehow needs just a few breaths more. These very different people of different ages, interests and lifestyles have somehow forged friendships through our weekly meetings, and I sense that this communal quiet is feeding us all.
I imagine silky invisible threads weaving us all together into a single tapestry that shines more beautifully than any one of us alone. I notice that the breaths of these bodies have begun to sync, to move more and more as one. How lovely and how beautiful - we are each singular in our gifts and together we are bound in our beauty.
I give thanks to the gift of yoga one last time. I give thanks to everyone who has moved and stretched and wobbled and breathed together this week and every week. I give thanks for the opportunity to share yoga's balm with others, and I give thanks that friends are willing to share this mysterious journey by my side.
And then, finally, because really I must, I strike the bowl three times, and invite these lovely bodies to rise up and back out into the world again.