And, though this writing is mainly an expression of where my own practice is growing and changing, it’s an example of how yoga is always available to each of us, in some form, no matter where you happen to be in your life.
For over a year my asana practice was reduced to a bare minimum of stretches and strengthening poses that helped me stay sane and care for my body. In that year, yoga has guided me through the emotional and physical loss of a miscarriage, the roller coster ride of pregnancy, the trauma and wonder of birth, and the long road to recovery postpartum.
Though my abdominal muscles are still learning how to return to an optimal position and state, my belly still somewhat soft from being pregnant, my body has become so much stronger.
Each day, given the time, I explore my capacity. Sometimes I only have enough time for what I call my “maintenance practice,” but more and more often a pose that had been out of reach becomes possible again.
You probably know the exhilarating, empowering feeling of finally getting a yoga pose that had been elusive before. You find yourself there, breath moving, totally focused on that one moment, and it feels great!
On New Year’s Day I had that experience with two familiar but temporarily retired poses: crow (Bakasana), and forearm stand (Pincha Mayurasana). I felt strong in crow, so I tried forearm stand, which happens to be one of my favourites. Though it was a definite challenge, I did it!
Coming out of the pose, I laughed and then cried.
Since then, I’m rediscovering poses on a regular basis, and it feels amazing! I’ve even been playing with the idea of teaching again, though it would need to be a very small amount since my full-time, joyful job is being a momma. We shall see how that thought emerges into reality . . .
Yoga is such a wonderful, powerful way to see and feel yourself grow.
Sometimes the growth is inward, and the practice teaches you how to be patient, back off, rest and be gentle with yourself. Sometimes the expansion is graceful and strong, energetic and playful.
Always, yoga offers itself to you, meets you wherever you are. It has carried me through fear, picked me up off the floor of hardship, and helped me climb out of the depths of depression.
It has given me a way to cultivate balance in my life and to recreate the strength I need and want, offering healing physically and on every other level.
Whether it is the physical practice of yoga, the peaceful anchor of meditation, or the ever-present philosophy that guides me to look for the beauty, trust in the process, and remember the bigger picture of All That Is, I remain extremely grateful that I have yoga in my life.
As the year opens up and the days get longer, may you find the aspects of yoga that are most supportive for you, and grow stronger (or softer if that is what you need) with the light.