My eyes softly close as I lower down, back onto the mat. My knuckles graze the cool hardwood floor and I settle, arms stretched out along my side, palms up. I am quiet. Around me, the others shift on their mats, moving in and out of their final poses, their joints cracking. I imagine them pulling on sweaters and socks, maybe adjusting their hair.
Slowly, the room stills. I feel my breath in my belly—rising, falling. On each inhale, I take silent stock of the space, breathing in the faint scent of perspiration, lingering on my still-warm skin. I lie there, sinking, waiting to hear the familiar spritz of the spray bottle, and when it comes, lavender falls over me. Tiny droplets tickle my skin.
Her hands are on me then, pressing against my temples, massaging into my skin. Her fingertips move firmly along my head, her touch cold as it reaches the spot behind my ears. She rests one finger on my forehead, and then she’s gone again. The floor creaks beneath her feet as she steps away, and the weight of her hands lingers on my face long after she’s left me.
My body sinks further into the mat. The stereo plays quietly behind my head, filling the air with bells, methodical in their slow rhythm.
She’s speaking now, her voice low and peaceful. She asks me to wiggle my toes, then my fingers. I stretch my arms out overhead, arching my back, feeling my muscles waking up. I roll to my right side, resting my head on my arm and playing with the ridges of the mat. My eyes still closed, I can hear the room growing busy around me and I rise, sitting legs-crossed, hands at my chest. We breathe.
My eyes peek open now, gradually letting light in. I look up, toward the small, rectangular window on the wall in front of me. The shade is drawn, but I can still make out the tree branches swaying behind it. Sunlight filters through.