It is New Year's day and I am dripping sweat on my yoga mat in a big room amongst the redwoods. My 69-year-old godmother is practicing beside me. We've come on my teacher Pete Guinosso's yoga retreat to ring out the old and welcome in the new. At this moment we are literally doing just that: a three-part twisting abs sequence with a rolled up yoga mat squeezed between our thighs. My belly burns. For each inhale that Pete leads us in, I'm taking two.
"Most of us check out," Pete says as he walks the room, adjusting feet suspended at hip height, "especially during abs."