“The crown of your head melts towards the Earth, as your sit bones press to the sky.”

Or better yet:

“Here in dolphin, you want to feel the abdominal area hollow out and the perineum lift.” (hint: Google “perineum”)

Of everything I thought I would learn and develop from my time in the Bridge Year Program in Senegal, I would never have expected yoga to be part of it. And yet, now, almost a year after my time in Senegal has ended, one of the most enduring reminders of the nine months I spent there are my morning yoga sessions with Jackson, who did Bridge Year with me.

Jackson and I started yoga when our onsite program director, Christy, invited us to join her. Christy was relatively experienced, and she had bought access to a yoga podcast, so we started doing yoga with her, guided by the smooth and soothing voices of Dawnelle and Jackie. These two wonderful women, coupled with an infusion of new-age spa vibes, led our favorite podcasts, calmly commanding us to sink deeper into the fourth minute of utkatasana, “lightning bolt pose”, or at other times reminding us how “our hips are our storage depots for all of our stress and emotion.”  I was always disdainful of yoga for the reasons that many people are: cheesy spa music, pretentious new-age 20-somethings who think they speak Sanskrit, commodification of a supposedly spiritual practice, etc. And Jackson and I still laugh to ourselves when Dawnelle or Jackie say something particularly ludicrous.

But I really like yoga; it’s invigorating and empowering, and I’ve developed exciting amounts of flexibility. And so every morning I try to wake up at 7:15 a.m. and bike to Forbes. Since planning every hour of every day is, at least for me, a regrettably inevitable component of time management at Princeton, making sure to set out time in my schedule for things like yoga is part of a sanity check, and it also provides a strange sort of continuity from my Bridge Year.

Plus, my yoga butt’s really coming along.

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