It’s raining and dreary, so I decided to stay home instead of stumble through the Ashtanga class I thought I would go to. I rolled out my mat in my own studio/office and put on a new playlist and moved through as many of the postures as seemed sensible. For the past 12 months or so, I have been going to various physical therapists who have instructed me to avoid yoga. Well, actually, the first guy told me to avoid forward bends, and the second woman said to avoid backbends, so I stopped feeling confident in my body altogether.
Last week I went to an Ashtanga class (the one I avoided tonight). I felt I had aged ten years. My arms buckled in chatturanga and I could no longer squeeze myself into any kind of bind. Humbling.
I teach a Trauma-focused yoga class to women in therapy at a community health center every week, and there I tell them to pay attention to what they feel in their bodies, and to make choices based on what they are feeling. I’ve decided to practice what I’m preaching and spend a few minutes each day writing about it.
Things I noticed today: my stomach feels bulky and heavy and in the way. My neck feels tight when I bring my ear to my shoulders. I clench my teeth. I felt angry today, not irritable, but appropriately angry, I thought. A co-worker was rude and unkind to me. Another challenged my judgment. My back went up. I’ve been carrying anger around in my belly and my neck.
It was surprisingly lovely to arrive in my body during sivasana, to dwell in my awareness of the sweat cooling my forehead and chest, my lumbar spine and hips settling down towards the floor, my abdomen resting as my heart slowed down, the sound of my breath and a quiet, soothing swishing sound filling my ears. It was surprisingly difficult to stay there, to remain simply in being.