Monday, January 2, 2017

End of the year reflection, or how yoga has helped me

It has been a difficult year…of changes, transitions and losses. My yoga practice has both failed me and sustained me. Change has been inevitable. Suffering was not a viable option.

A yoga student shared that it took her a year to be able to write about an event, as it had so great an impact on her. When she was able to write I imagine it was cathartic, a letting go.

One day I made a U-turn on Grandin Road. This is a metaphor for my life. After that I learned that I would no longer have the space at CoLab, on Grandin Road, available to me after the end of June. Maybe I should be more discriminating when it comes to making U-turns! But I do it when there are no other cars coming and I have room to make it in one turn. So I believe I do it safely and cautiously.

So in my life I have made a U-turn. I am back to where I began, almost, but not completely the same. I am teaching yoga like almost 30 years ago, at different locations, and as an adjunct to the rest of my work. It no longer serves me to have a studio, especially when there are many fine accessible ones in this town and its surrounds. My energy is not up to the struggle of locating and leasing a space, nor managing teachers other than this one!  Other employment is what puts the gas in the car and food on the table, so I am back.  I have returned to that place where I can say that I can teach yoga and give myself to it instead of trying to run it as a business.

In the past year and a half I have counted several losses, including the loss of the space above Grace’s Restaurant, my grand dog, Mary Jane,  a friendly relationship that dwindled away over the last couple years, my 9 year old cat, Tia, who was my heart, and my likely 100 year old maple tree. And then there were the procedures and surgeries. Grieving has not been easy, and yet it has been. Thankfully I have been able to be with family more than usual this year, and my old and new friends have stepped up to the plate to comfort me through these times.

I stayed away from the mat because I didn’t want to feel. I didn’t want to break down. I didn’t want to tap into what’s inside because I knew it would be real and it would be painful. And yoga always brings me to what’s truly going on. That depth was scary to me. I could not take the pain of finding my insides open and exposed to me. So my yoga practice failed me because I didn’t do it.

But when I found myself frustrated or sad, or even confused, when I remembered my yoga practice, all became clear. My yoga practice has helped me physically: my ankle and hip ailments subside. My yoga practice helped heal my heart and its wounds. My yoga practice helped me remember my mission to help, not hinder, others. Yoga reminds me to breathe into the moment.

and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

from Mary Oliver, poem: The Journey

A reminder from Mary Oliver’s poem that the journey isn’t an easy one. We need to keep coming back to it. We go off the path and we find our way back. May we all find our way back.
There’s no going back

to back
where I came from
There is only now and where I am now

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