My brother asked me how I was feeling today and I answered honestly, healed. I feel like I am finally healing.
Each week for the past four weeks I have been practicing yoga. This idea of breathing has really resonated with me. To most, breathing is something we do without thinking. It’s done with automaticity. That’s a good thing, for otherwise, we would die. For that automaticity, I am truly grateful. But I’m also grateful for this newfound ability of “learning to breathe”.
With each movement in yoga we are encouraged to inhale and exhale. Breathing in and out when I am supposed to has been a struggle. That is, until today.
When I started yoga four weeks ago, I paired it with a nighttime meditation class. My body did not care for this, or rather, my mind did not. For it was in this meditation that I experienced so much anxiety and fear. I found my breath and tried to breathe into this anxiety, calming myself from the inside out. It seemed to work but from that point on I was filled with fear that it would happen again. Each time that fear crept up I breathed into it. Slowly, I learned to quiet my mind and listen to my body. I decided that meditation, at this point, was too much for my body and I decided to just stick with yoga. Yoga, I decided, just made me feel good from the tips of my toes to the ends of my ears.
So each week I have practiced at the same studio with the same instructors. Each week I’ve learned something new about my body and, by extension, myself. Last week I learned half pigeon pose, a pose that gave me more trouble than I thought it was worth. Though, once conquered I knew and felt its importance. The week before that I learned about my own flexibility. I reminded my muscles that they could, at one time, stretch to their fullest. I knew that if I could do it before, I could do it again. I literally watched myself become increasingly more flexible as the class went on. By the time the hour was up, I was able to grasp my feet firmly, while letting my hips go loose, in happy baby pose. It was a fiercely emotional experience, one I smiled through.
This week was the ultimate breakthrough though because his week, I learned how to breathe.
In today’s session, my instructor told us to listen to our bodies, find our breath, and move our bodies in sync. She said to pay close attention to what our body was telling us. She told us to listen to our body and to move with that knowledge in mind. For the first time, downward dog didn’t feel like a strain. It felt natural.
As I was leaving yoga I thanked my instructor for such a meaningful class. She said, “It’s all you.” I loved how it was all brought back to me because if I can learn about myself then I can heal myself. I can learn to breathe through the pain of losses and I can learn to breathe through the joy of gains. It reminds me of the quote that “this too shall pass”. What makes us happiest will eventually pass and what makes us sad will also pass. We only need but to breathe.