Tuesday, March 30, 2010

29 Days of Giving: Day 4

I have written extensively in the past about the grip yoga took on my life from the very first time I practiced. Since then, I have experienced many variations of myself in my own practice: a very selfish me, who so coveted the space, the sweet release, the solace of it all that there was simply no way that I could imagine giving it away, sharing that space with anyone.

I practiced the first time more than 11 years ago: pregnant, irrevocably broken, alone, and terrified beyond measure. My friend Leah manipulated and bent me in ways I never knew possible. My child did headstands in my belly and I felt months and months of nausea fade into my mat, if only for a time.

Imprinted, it would still take years for me to find my mat again.

Many years later, at a time when I felt whole yet was still scared in so many ways, it was through the persistence of the man I loved desperately that I found myself back on a mat, his mat. Little did we know, that months later when our relationship would begin to crumble, that yoga mat would become my place of refuge from our brokenness, my own brokenness. The mat seeped up my tears, the toxicity that man and I tried desperately and yet wholly unsuccessfully to keep from pouring upon one another.

That mat came to be the place that held the depths of my pain and failure, and also my hope.
My mat, my church.

Slowly, deliberately, my body changed, my mind changed. Fear became fierce determination. Trepidation became lean strength. Salty tears of anger, sadness, and rage turned to joy, elation, sweet release.

My relationship sadly ended. My life went on. I moved from the sacred space I'd created in that studio for myself, rolled up my mat and ventured home. A new set of challenges awaited, but there was no studio. No sacred space.

I threw myself into other things. I tried practicing in my bedroom, the living room, the gym.

And then, I realized, slowly, that if I was going to have this here, this space here, I needed to change with my practice. I needed to bring it here. I went to teacher training. I tried a new type of yoga. I fell into fear. I stretched until it became love. I fell out of fear. I fell into the sweet release surrender brings. And Sunday, I summoned all my inner demons, my fear of being unable to share this, to do this, and I shoved them aside for two hours. I taught my first class.

I gave this yoga to people as it was once given to me. Imperfectly, present, and with no expectation of return. I led, they stretched. I adjusted, they exhaled.

The 11 year journey, and a brand new mat...

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