First the pigeon, then the tears

When under stress most of us seek a release. Whether you smoke, drink, run, eat cookie dough or, like me, practice yoga, there’s something our mind & body tells us will do it. My practice hasn’t been enough of a release this year and I’ve needed more. Like a cutter, I needed to go deeper to feel pain and recognize that life’s rawness would come to the surface as a way to make peace with myself. We are not one dimensional beings and often in our lives we drive ourselves by what we are in a given moment. That moment is gone as quickly as it was called out. We’re always changing and growing and moving in the direction of whatever thought we are having in the moment. Back to this year’s release – I take Open level classes on a regular basis. The closest comparison of an Open level to a physical workout would be a Spinning class. It takes regular practice to comfortably take the class and there’s a required amount of knowledge and mind-body connection required to not injure yourself while continuing to deepen the practice.

Like a cyclist looking for a steeper hill, after two years of Open level, I sought a deeper practice. I emailed my teacher saying that due to the chaos in my life, I felt the need to snap my body in half. He told me to take his advanced class. So, there I was, the new kid in school and the least practiced of the 16 or so other students. It kind of felt good. It kind of felt like there was a whole lot more that I needed to do so having to stick with Open level was not the end all be all. There were lots of deep hip openers and headstands and virabadrasana I and II on our own. Unexpectantly, we were put in pigeon and asked to bend our back knee and bring our back foot forward and lift the front (bottom) foot to meet the other foot, turning our torso toward the back leg. Well, now, isn’t that interesting? Also, as a side note, I’ve been picking up the lovely habit of grinding my teeth at night. In yoga we recognize the direct correlation between the jaw and hips – new students will find that in deep hip stretches, the jaw tenses, relax the jaw and the hips tighten. So, I’m clentching my jaw, trying the pose, tell myself to relax my jaw and BAM, I’m suddenly in New York with, at the time my boyfriend, during the summer on vacation from Seattle with a perfect breeze on a perfect weekened, over looking Central Park. We walked the park, bought bagels from the corner deli, walked the city and were in love. At this point in my yoga, I returned to my breath and found myself sobbing. That vacation will always be part of me and the love I have for this person and for the city that brought us together. Times change but the experiences had do not. I will always have that emotional connection and I cherish it. I am so grateful to the yoga for helping me unleash a memory that could have easily been buried or remembered only as flashes rather than a fully sensual memory.

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