I go to a yoga class every Saturday morning at 8am.  It isn’t easy and it is probably only possible because the studio is five minutes from my house.  I find myself going out of a sense of obligation knowing that it is good for me.  My attitude changes when I get there: relief begins to overtake my apprehension.  We begin on our mats legs crossed and eyes closed.  The silence and stillness hits me full force and I hold back tears.  I am compelled to be fully aware of my body, be fully in my body.  This fragmented, broken vessel that so often feels like my worst enemy is calmed and a sense of relief and shame washes over me.  I am ashamed that I want to cry yet relieved that I am in a safe place to experience being present.

It is hard work.  My daily default is to shut down and separate parts of myself to survive.  I ignore my body and the most tumultuous parts of my mind.  Yoga gently but firmly challenges this disconnect because it is all about mind/body connection: a very difficult thing to attain.

For an hour I face myself head-on in the most gentle way possible but it is so much work to be aware of SO many parts of my body and how they are all working together.

Our teacher is wonderful and has such a beautiful spirit. The second time I went, during the wind-down time near the end (which is rather still and introspective) I began to shake and cry.  Our teacher gently put her hands on my shoulders and said “I’m so glad that you are here.  This is a safe place.”    Somehow she sensed exactly what I was feeling – an overwhelming fear and grief when facing myself and all that was in me: darkness and sadness that my mind and body were clenching on to.  It was frightening facing this in such a pure, raw manner.

It has gotten a little easier since then but is still a challenge.  During the last class I was holding back tears and didn’t really know why.  It is most likely because as I try to surrender to the awareness of all that is in me I feel vulnerable and exposed.  Our teacher reminds us to let the thoughts and feelings simply “be” with no judgement.  Now that, friends, is quite a challenge.  To give up wrestling with myself for an hour and just be an observer is nothing short of a miracle.

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