“We’ll be starting the meeting with a brief yoga session.”

These are not words I expected to hear prior to a meeting I recently attended via Zoom. Especially since the meeting had nothing to do with exercise, meditation, or health and well-being. Still, I was game, so I put my exercise mat in front of the computer, put on a pair of stretchy, comfortable pants – not yoga pants, officially, but they would do – and got ready for the session.

The meeting was a joint collaboration between two Toastmasters clubs, one based in California and the other in India. The meeting lasted from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. in my time zone. This was a little later than I normally attend meetings. One of my fears, in fact, was that the yoga portion would get me so relaxed that I’d have a hard time staying awake for the rest of the meeting.

Another fear, since coordination isn’t exactly my strong suit, was that I’d embarrass myself on camera in front of people from across the country and across the world. I considered turning my video off before we even started, but decided to see what it was like first.

The beginning of the session focused on stretching and breathing, which I know are important components of yoga, then progressed to a few more challenging moves. I started to get a little nervous – rightly so, it turned out – when the young woman leading the program said, “This next move may be a little more difficult.” It involved sitting on the floor with one leg extended, and with the foot of the other leg resting on the thigh of the extended leg. That for me was challenging enough, even before the part where we were supposed to grab that foot by the toe and lift it toward our ear.

That’s the point at which I’d have turned my camera off, if I could have reached it. Instead, I just sat on the floor and waited for the next exercise.

I survived – even enjoyed – the yoga session, as well as the rest of the meeting, and had no trouble staying awake for it. Later, I had to smile, thinking of how odd this was going to sound in the retelling. I live in Georgia, but attended a meeting that originated in California and India at the same time. We started the meeting, which focuses on communication and public speaking, with a yoga session. And I felt an immediate camaraderie and familiarity with people I have never met, and probably never will in person.

After the meeting – around midnight my time – I went to bed feeling relaxed and energized at the same time, wondering what new and unusual experiences the next day might bring. And as I drifted off to sleep, it occurred to me that that’s a great way to end each day.

August 2, 2020
©Betty Liedtke, 2020

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