Blossoming in Padmasana

by Nathalie Goykhman

Discouraged by    her nine-to-five    in class she hopes    to bud.
Padmasana:   that which is born   out of the muck   and mud.

Expansive chest   sitz bones planted   like tuber roots   that grow
into lakebeds.   Sepal fingers    cradle dewdrops   thoughts slow.

Another breath    a departure   whirling incense   a pause–
smoke dissipates   to-do lists slip  beneath the mat.   Her flaws

are less daunting   in Lotus Pose   floating limbs fold    serene
exhalation    disturbances   beneath ripples   unseen.

Sometimes the winds   the pelting rain    tousle her fine   petals.
But debris rolls   off petal tips.   The calm blossom–settles. 

Bakasana: Crow or Crane

by Nathalie Goykhman

The instructor tells me to
“lean into the discomfort.”
I’m not sure what that means but
in Bakasana, my nose

is two inches from the ground.
Sweaty fingers grip the mat,
my forearms quiver. I am
more of the crow, not the crane.

My elbows bent, crouching and
trembling, while graceful cranes float
their arms stretched, legs hovering
and faces dipping forward

as if they are submerging
thin beaks into tranquil pools.
Although I’m not skilled enough
to dive and soar in crane pose,

my toes begin to peel off
the ground. Just for a moment,
I am balancing, flying
two inches high, in crow pose.

Celestial Mechanics

by Nathalie Goykhman

Ardha chandrasana has been a mystery,
a penumbra. I enter the
pose with radiant strength, my standing leg lean and

firmly planted, supporting hand lightly grazing
the ground. fingertips, like rays, reach
for the ceiling, my floating limb like a straight edge. 

Sweat glistening in the craters of my body.     
The instructor tells us to shift
our gaze to the sky, causing wobbles. Now I am

waxing and waning, like the lunar librations
I oscillate in my facing.
My lifted leg looks more like a crescent, bent and

dangling, I stumble and so lose my path like all     
Orbital Eccentricities.
When will I eclipse unforeseen difficulties?

Clouded by frustration, my luster dims. I think
“maybe in the next lunar phase.”
Part gleaming and part nebulous in Half Moon Pose. 

6pm Vinyasa flow

by Nathalie Goykhman

Before the yoga class begins,
I greet the students at the door.
The trappings of their daily lives

get tucked away in cubby shelves:
bicycle helmets and high heels,
construction boots and briefcases.

Some shuffle in still on their phones,
still whispering instructions while
they juggle coffee cups and keys.

The earlybirds have placed their mats,
strategic spots across the room.
Some try to hide behind a post 

while others claim the front row space.
The yogis shed their daytime skin,  
their furrowed brows and heavy bags.

They set aside this time to flow
in oceanic breath; the tide
that laps away at jagged shells.

Half Lord of the Fishes

by Nathalie Goykhman

She preferred to unroll her mat
rather than unrolling her tongue while on a couch
in a bland office: dull art

and sentimental trinkets with
precautionary tissues perfectly placed by
the armrest. She knew that well.

Prying questions rarely helped her,
she’d rather pry her shoulders open in a
Half Lord of the Fishes pose.

This twist wrings out her swirling thoughts.
Like wild salmon, she battles stormy currents and
sharp, unexpected boulders.