Yoga: Inner Strength + Inner Stillness.

Body: 

It wasn’t so long ago I remember taking my first Hatha yoga class.  It was the 1990’s, I recall thinking, “what is this”? What possibly will I gain from this passive movement, silence and om’ing

It took five years to really understand. I remember the day that I “got” yoga.

I had just returned from visiting my brother who was then incarcerated in Florence, Arizona.  It had been a week; a revolving door of barbwire, concrete and 112 degree heat. I was grateful for our five hour-a-day visits, my roll of quarters for the vending machine “cuisine” and the Casa Grande ruins where I’d stop and sit in stillness, listening to the sound of flutes reverberate through the canyons.  I recall the day of not being in such a state of gratitude for a female prison guard, who announced that I had to find more “acceptable attire”, or I wouldn’t be allowed visitation.  Not allowed, really? To me, those were some fightin’ words. The skirt I wore almost down to my ankles, by the way, was super cute.  I’m certain that my response of not really liking her hair and make-up or her attitude didn’t help solidify any future “red carpet” treatment. But I didn’t care; I drove like hell to Walmart like it was my best friend. I found something highly flammable, yet fashionable that met prison guidelines, not to mention enjoyed the exchange with a cheerful Walmart greeter, who really lifted my spirits. ;)

Back to yoga.

That day back on the mat, I was at a breaking point.  After one week of “stuffing” my emotions and pat downs, I was glad to be back to the unfamiliarity of my “practice”, whatever that was. Lying there in cobbler’s pose after a few rounds of hip openers, it happened; tears came flooding like the Hoover Dam.  That day, I finally got yoga.

Yoga saved me. It kept me from breaking in a place that wasn’t deserving of bearing witness to me or anyone else in a fragile or vulnerable state. It enabled me to sit for hours and days on end and delay the inevitable of once again, leaving my brother behind. Yoga gave me the ability to return to and re-enter my so called “normal” life with family and friends. I was ultimately bolstered into becoming more neutral and composed, so not to fall apart at times when I had to render strength and support for my loved ones. Yoga helped me sustain value and honor for myself and for my family while in a space where dignity is a ghost.  

 

Interested in exploring yoga?  I recommend the following:

Yogalife - I've been a student there for over 10 years.

Deirdre Wilcox: The Happy Yogi - Amazing instructor, offers phenomenal body work. Available for workshops and on location.