I’ve been practicing yoga regularly now for almost 3 months. In those three months I have learned to connect with my breath, to feel and breathe into the lengthening of my muscles and to trust that my body can do more than I have ever dreamed possible. Yes, I am preparing to defy gravity by practicing handstand preps. And the other day, I was introduced to crow pose, another pose that requires the feet to leave the ground. Nothing has taught me more about the fear that is housed in my body than the way I stop myself just before I am at the point of liberation. It’s a good lesson, a hard lesson (I was pretty mad at the invisible block that kept bouncing me back to the floor) but not the toughest lesson that yoga offers me.
At the end of every yoga session, we are asked to lie in a supine position, heels apart, shoulder blades resting on the floor, fingers relaxed and breath slowed. Savassanah. A beautiful name for what sounds like a well-deserved rest after 60 or 90 minutes of mind-body work. This is the point of my yoga practice that makes me want to call it quits. This is the time when I remember that outside of the class my children and husband are at home. Depending on the time of the class, my mind starts asking the following questions: Did my son finish his dinner? Has my daughter had her bedtime snack? Did they both go down to sleep OK?
HAS THERE BEEN SOME KIND OF MEDICAL EMERGENCY THAT I DON’T KNOW ABOUT BECAUSE I WAS IN CLASS AND MY CELL PHONE IS OFF BURIED IN MY PURSE STASHED IN A CUBBY OUTSIDE THE DOORS OF THE YOGA ROOM?
My breath quickens, my heart beats faster. I picture the display on my cell phone in my mind’s eye. 17 MISSED CALLS! My mind travels to my house where my husband is holding my screaming son and frantically dialing my number only to get my voicemail again. Something is terribly wrong with my son; it’s going to require a trip to the hospital. I HAVE HIS CARE CARD IN MY PURSE! Back in the yoga studio, I am trying desperately not to squirm, to keep my eyes closed. It’s like being trapped in a nightmare but being fully awake. It is so hard to just be, to just trust that everything is OK.
I focus on my breath again, in and out, slowly. OK, the kids are fine, I tell myself. Everything is fine. I have only been out of the house for just over an hour. ACCIDENTS ONLY TAKE SECONDS TO HAPPEN! Who is this crazy voice? And why won’t it shut up when the rest of the class seems to be so…at peace? Someone is even snoring.
Is this some sort of Mommy curse? Is my anxiety just heightened because I am still getting used to taking care of myself? Am I just crazy?
“Slowly bring some movement to your fingers and your toes.” My instructor’s voice is like a ray of light into my darkness. A few minutes later, after sounding Om and honouring the instructor with a mumbled Namaste, I am free. Free to check my phone, to check in on my kids. To check out of my mind.
Bring on the muscle-building poses, the lengthening stretches…but Lord help me with the restful Savassanah. That’s a whole ‘nother ball game.
What happens to YOU when you have a moment of stillness – real, honest-to-goodness stillness where you are bound to one spot physically? When you are completely detached from the rest of the ‘wired-in’ world? (No cell phone!!) Have you tried it lately? Want to tell me I’m crazy for not being able to relax when given the opportunity? I’m open to hearing it!