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‘asana’

forward fold

rolling down each vertebrae the top of the duvet until i’m a penknife or a nutcracker. swing elbows swing head. ensure the release. massage the belly by squeezing it on the thighs good for the guts. a gutsy move this one it makes the hamstrings shriek. a most decisive vulnerability. shift weight to one foot then the other & ease each knee without locking. soften the knees soften the knees if you need to. i have frightened knees & the hamstrings are very protective. two mother bears a step behind me always & snarling.

 

a dog asking to play

tuck all 5 toes ground palms & fingers & push back. push back mountain range grinds from the sea & release the shoulders. let the upper arms roll outwards as gunwales. shift weight from side to side to ease into each heel left down right up or right down left up. never can i get them both down no matter how i plead. the adjustment is she pushes me upwards & says relax behind the heart. what is there behind the heart i don’t know. please. but the slopes of a mountain. try she says a slight external rotation of the knees. please. some shiver releases when i’m not looking.

 

office chair

the chair that isn’t there. shine your heart forward & relax the shoulders relax the shoulders keep relaxing the shoulders. the adjustment is i relax the shoulders. heat-generating & also easier once the heat has been generated. the chair that makes its own conditions. i did this with tincture of daisy & valerian & chilli on the tongue. dilation all the way down head heart arms legs in a wave. warm & sleepy & relaxed. the chair that forgets it’s a chair until it burns.

 

a fish looking over its shoulders

the key is to lift your ribcage & i am lifting it. real top of the head on the floor & spread the pressure out by lifting your ribcage. my throat is up to the ceiling & i can see it from above. blue like a fish in a cave all its insides visible & eyes of milk. lump in the stretched throat like the moon. laying its blue anorak aside it settles down on a bed of bulrush & allows itself to drift. a throat hard with opal. the adjustment is she lifts my ribcage.

 

sleeper

lying on the back with a good spine & my arms out at 45 degrees palms up she turns the lights off. only small candlelight through incense. all souls sighs of relief. i am very far away in my dog form. the adjustment is very far from me when she presses my shoulders down. pad pad pad. then palms my heels lifts my legs and pulls. held like when the reflexologist said you are sad. just stated it very matter of fact & we both held it up to the light to see better & examined it. checking for streaks on a glass. & what do i believe. i have never been this stretched out i have never been this softened.

Flo Reynolds works as a literary events producer in Norwich. Her poems have appeared in Magma, Lighthouse, and others.

“This poem came out of the To Be Continued: Writing Poetry Sequences course in a week where we were exploring how a list poem can extend into a sequence. This felt like a good way to write about the body/mind divide to me, particularly the way that it’s often through pain or discomfort or self-consciousness that mind and body reconnect. This form allowed me to focus on individual movements or feelings or parts of the body without separating them, an attempt at an holistic inventory.”

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Image Credits:

Alan Levine, ‘Play Dead’