Nothing To Hold On To

December 14th, 2023 — 11:02am

I met Annette Bening twenty years ago at a Yoga Journal conference when I was communications director. I admired her talent, but I didn’t want to fangirl her either. She was there to do yoga, I was there to help make that happen, in peace.

I watched her during a class with Sri B.K.S. Iyengar, a rare opportunity to study with this great yogic master. I was captivated by her practice. Not by her willowy suppleness or her backbends, but by her embodied presence on the mat—right down to her toes. Literally! She was feeling it and I was happy for her.

After class, we stood next to each other on the lunch line. We began to chat. I don’t really remember about what—politics probably. I was livid at the Bush Administration’s policies, but I tried to reign my fury in. (It was a yoga conference after all.) Then she asked me to join her for lunch (cue the palpitations…)

We sat. We ate. We talked politics. I wanted to ask her a question that was surely too personal but I was curious and asked anyway. “How is it you’ve never done botox, filler, or plastic surgery? How are you so brave?”

“I started on stage,” she replied. “My face had to be expressive. The roles were never about me.” She paused then added, “And I never thought I was beautiful. So there was nothing to hold on to.”

Nothing to hold on to. Yoga in action. She’s fearless.

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