How I got to My Mat
It had been an impossible year, hopes dashed, hearts broken, dreams lost. My body was broken from the stress of it all. What body, mind, and spirit was once energized and aching for activity was now exhausted, and tender to the touch. I had lost a couple of months of my life, living out of my bed in a fogged out depression. Depression is like a boat adrift in a stagnant sea, where there is no end or beginning in sight. [TWEET THIS] I was the boat floating aimlessly to nowhere. One day, after the loss of many days, I began to feel my life again. The sensation was oh so subtle, but for the first time in a long time, I felt my heartbeat, my breath, and my spirit had significance.
I’m not exactly sure why the practice of yoga began for me this day; I can only assume that my body was on a prodigal journey and that yoga was intuitively a way to return home to myself.
The yoga mat, unused, was rolled up in the corner of my closet. I grabbed its thick edges and carried it outside to lay on the wet grass. The sunshine hit my face in a way that was shocking, yet familiar. I drank in the light like it was miracle water and gulped. The prison doors I had been in for weeks and weeks on end suddenly were transparent with every breath of fresh air. In yoga, the breath is called prãnayãma. This breath has to do with life, vitality, energy, and strength; when breath is disrupted due to panic or stress, then one’s life, vitality, energy, and strength is also disrupted. The depression I had been in had robbed me of life-giving breath, the yoga mat brought it back with intentionality.
I laid on the mat in child’s pose extending my arms long in front of me with my forehead pressed into the ground; my knees spread wide to the edges of the mat while my two big toes touched together. I inhaled and exhaled, dropping deeper into my hips, with each breath I felt my body more completely. This child’s pose was the only posture I remembered next to downward facing dog and up dog. I moved through the three postures in a slow rhythm like grace. After 15 minutes of deep breathing, and meditative movement, my legs and arms where shaking like a wobbly one year old. I had showed up to the mat, and this is all that I needed to do. Healing meets us at our showing up, not our showing off. [TWEET THIS]
As a yoga practitioner and teacher, my experience has taught me that our bodies hold stories and emotions deep inside that want to be told. When we show up for intentional practices, such as movement, meditation, breath, and healing, we meet resistance with a force. No matter where you are today, show up to your experience and your sensation. This showing up, wherever and however it goes down, is how you get to your mat and how you befriend your healing process.