At the beginning of a hatha yoga class, the teacher led a centering exercise. We lay supine and began progressively relaxing each part of the body, surrendering to gravity, to the floor beneath us.
“You are in this body now,” the teacher crooned at the end of the exercise. My third eye shot wide open.
No, no, no, no, no, I thought. I am this body now.
These thoughts, the limbs heavy on the floor, the belly inside the ill-fitting sweatpants billowing up and collapsing with the breath, the pulse of salt and iron blood, that persistent pain in my left hip, the tension in my jaw, the big black saucer pupils dilated in the dim light, tympanic membranes vibrating with the teacher’s voice and my classmates’ breath. Not just present with these processes; I am they.
No ghost in the machine. I am this body now.