December 12, 2013

Nothing in Yoga is Exactly Simple. ~ Carolyn Riker

My sensitivity button is on high alert.

I’m ready for battle, even though the battle is within me, I’m projecting everywhere. I’m snarky and sarcastic.

I’m feeling uneasy, abandoned and alone. It comes up in layers and starts to take over my thoughts. I become apprehensive and convince myself to withdraw from people, friends, communities—the very structures of support that are good for me.

I realize how dog-tired I am as I yawn through class and wish savasana would swallow me whole. I want to skip most of the class because I’m overwhelmed at how my body doesn’t comply with even the seemingly simplest poses.

That’s just the beginning of my exaggerated mind talk. My inner chatter continues, I’m supposed to be relaxed and centered.

On the contrary, I am frozen and fight. I resist. I don’t like the swishing sound that overrides my thinking because when I do relax, even a tiny bit, I enter into a state of feeling. This feeling feels a lot like panic. The swishing sound in my head is connecting to my heart.

It’s an exhausting space to be in especially with others around.

My intention for practice isn’t poetic—I switch into practical.

Stay present. Stop considering the options to bolt. Stop bribing yourself with, if you get through this class, you can have a double-tall, one pump, pumpkin spice soy latte. And a cookie. Maybe two.

I have to constantly refocus.

I listen to the surround-sound of steady breathing and the rhythm of the teacher’s voice. It helps me to stay present or it can annoy the hell out of me. Everything is extra sharp. I find a focal point and aim to stay connected.

My feeling gauge ratchets higher and it turns more difficult, or so it seems, to endure 45 more minutes of class. I start to hate everyone but really I’m softening and that freaks me out. I could use a hug but I’m as prickly as a porcupine.

My mind spins off, again…

Her warrior looks awesome. Mine sucks. My shoulders burn and my Eagle feathers are stuck. What the f*ck are they smiling about? Relax my neck? How? Lean into the stretch. It hurts. I’m a whiny bitch. I could seriously use a drink and I’m not even sure where that thought came from. Turn foot out or is it in? I’m feeling fat. Point, flex and rotate your foot, hip, knee and sacral something or other. Listen. Focus. And breathe. My Chakras are confused.

The instructor suggestions we reconnect to our personal intentions. Brilliant.

My intention has shifted through layers and a small voice whispers, “It’s easy to be perky when you are feeling good.”

I answer myself a little too loudly, “But when I feel like shit, it is harder to be grateful.”

The swan like creature next to me kindly questions, “Did you say something?”

I give a half-smile, raise my less sore arm with a feeble gesture, “It’s nothing. Just talking to myself.”

She returns with a real smile.

We inhale and stretch to the left. A string of warm bodies, parallel the persimmon colored wall; each twisting and untying a fusion of knots.

Energy is flowing. I start to breathe deeper and relax a smidge.

The barriers I tried to keep, disappear and there before me is a secret door. I check in with myself and find the hurt is in the pocket of my heart. Healing trickles in as sunlight creeps across the knotty floor boards. The room breaths. It is a safe space. I finally close my eyes for the first time in 80 minutes and trust the warmth forming an inner blanket fort around my tenderness. I let small waves escape. Each ripple leads me back to the shoreline where others wait. I am not alone. I never was.

Nothing in yoga is exactly simple. It just is. It welcomes me home.


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Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photo: Matthew Ragan/Flickr

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