I started yoga in 2007 after I separated from the former spouse. It was wildly nourishing and challenging and for 90 minutes I could concentrate on something other than some of the worst of human emotions. I was, and I say this lovingly, and to roughly borrow a phrase from Elizabeth Gilbert, a cliche of an almost divorced 30 year old taking divorced lady classes at the Y.
But whatever. It was healing in the most healing of ways.
A year later, I managed to sneak restorative yoga into a credit earning part of my graduate school schedule. And THAT was wildly nourishing in all new ways ... a return to the same, stable quiet sense of self ... the friend that had accompanied my move to an unfamiliar city.
And now, I've returned again, in an effort to have a space in which I am challenged, and clear headed, and letting go. This has been really humbling, guys. Turns out when you don't practice regularly, you lose flexibility and balance. (Or at least, I did.) This has been a process. Even concentrating on breath work and meditation has been a process - one wandering thought and suddenly I find I'm off rhythm with the Agni-Prasana and completely off kilter. (Sometimes just being in the moment is the hardest part.) (Agni Prasana is also called Breath of Fire and involves breathing in and out rhythmically, with the emphasis put on breathing out. It forces me to concentrate on my abdomen - the drawing in and filling the lungs and the pushing out to exhale. Other than the pace and emphasis, it's similar in form to the breathing exercises we use in TF-CBT and CPT.)
Last Saturday, in some strange turn of events, I was the only person at my usual morning class. Slightly awkward, but the instructor kindly took the time to go over my form in a couple of poses that are more challenging for me.
Like this one:
(Image is hyperlinked - thank you, KatieYoga, for this beautiful example.)
I might mention here that my yoga instructor is 7 months pregnant and did this pose as if it was the easiest thing ever. In the universe. I, however, have not yet been able to do a headstand. And, turns out, I am still not be able to do a headstand, but at least now I know a safer, more supported way to enter a headstand. But here's the humbling part: as I was trying to come into this pose, I experienced a moment of fear that caused all of my upper back to tense and today, I am still experiencing some pain in my levator scapulae (I'm fairly certain, anyway, that that is the affected muscle.)
My mind took over. Again. This is fascinating to me.
The increasing awareness that my thoughts are loud, bossy and somewhat anxious and fearful, and that they interfere with my body, is incredible.
Maybe one day headstand will be more accessible and slightly less intimidating. Maybe one day my mind will just let my body be.
That's the hope, anyway.