LIVING AND DYING ON MY YOGA MAT
As I firmly grounded myself through hands and heels, pushing the earth away from me, the tears welled up again, blurring my vision of my navel. Biting my lip while continuing with a deep divine inhalation through the nose, then a long drawn out exhalation, the realisation hit me that I was no longer just living day to day but moment to moment and breath to breath; literally. I closed my eyes while still in downward dog and allowed the tears to fall to the floor, free of judgement, just pure and full acceptance. My body was proving parallels in the maze of my mind, it was ok to let go, let it flow - accept and release and maybe healing will come..
Through the whole 90 minutes that followed in that achingly surreal, amazingly transformative class, I was tuned into the awareness of my breath constantly; allowing me to really be in the moment of now kept me alive in such a tangibly raw way that I had never experienced in a class before. Naturally I did cry here and there in various asanas, some like forward folds and inversions caused the tears to flow faster, others like mountain and tree poses forced me to find and regain some focus and balance; to steady myself again. Others still like the locks and twists forced me to push through my body and seek some strength stowed away in a dark back alley of one of my 'systems', neglected, forgotten. The whole class had been a brutal battle between mind, body and spirit at my uttermost fragile.
The best was yet to come with the guided mediation at the end of class that I had not been expecting. Mentally winding down into savasana was all I was looking forward to, but I sat on that beautiful blue bolster as instructed while the teacher dimmed the lights right down, I tried to focus on the space between my eyebrows- my third eye - by humming an internal AUMMM. She began the meditation in her soft soothing voice, I was following well until she repeated with surprising authority "Whatever it is you're holding onto, physically or mentally, allow yourself to let go, just put the load down and let go.." So I did, and God it was like a damn had burst, the sobs and tears were releasing in full glory. I tried my utmost to stop and control it somehow but really couldn't, the best I could manage was to quiet down the sobs so i wasn't sounding hopelessly hysterical.Somehow, somewhere in time the mediation ended, and we all were finally allowed to roll down - vertebrae by vertebrae into Savasana. Despite my desire to rest, I managed to stay all of a minute before the sobs turned into shakes and I self-consciously realised my own experience however painful shouldn't have to interfere with other students rest time. I rose quietly, wearily making eye contact with the teacher and bowing in gratitude before bolting to the toilet for solitude and sobbing.
That was the day before my father's funeral, I had told myself that a yoga class would help - being a yoga teacher, it just made sense - though I had never expected such a profound experience.The parallels between body and mind, light and dark, flow and stagnation and ultimately life and death had never been so powerfully evident. The release then transmutation of such evocative emotions was mind boggling. To this day it still remains the most amazing yoga class I've ever attended as I had been utterly breaking down then building back up with my breath in every moment; seeking strength solely through each inhalation and releasing on the exhalation. Conscious of my being by bringing myself back to moment of Now, which is all you ever really have.
Now as the 7th of October; the anniversary of mother's death has rolled around again, I find myself recalling that yoga class in 2012, the day before I would bury my father after not having seen him for 18 months. I start to reflect on how obviously different the two deaths were from each other and yet the same because of one thick black emotion; Grief.
I can only define grief; from personal experience as a prolonged state of agony. Especially in the early days as it feels like a hole has been ripped out of your heart, that at times feels so heavy that you feel it will just be easier if it stops beating. Indeed the ripple effects of grief is what is most surprising, on many inappropriate occasions where something triggers a deep forgotten memory of their laugh or something loving they'd once said or did, the tears start, knowing no end and that hole in your heart feels like it's going to swallow you whole. These low and lonely times you do consider ending it just to escape the pain but somehow beyond your control it's transmuted, I guess spirit guides or some other 4D+ beings step in and offer you strength from somewhere as it certainly doesn't come from within.
What I have learnt over the years, is that the pain of losing a loved one does ease and the grief does lose it's intensity. I now know that Death is the only thing that's truly certain in this life, death of homes, death of jobs, death of holidays, cars, clothes, friendships, relationships and inevitably people. I have died a thousand deaths in my 37 years on this earth and it's always made me return to life more resilient, stronger and wiser, just like the night before my dad's funeral. The unexpected positive through both deaths is that I've learnt how important it is to live fully and consciously each day, each moment, as that's all we ever have. Yes it's cliche to live each day as if it were your last, but how joyous and free would you be if that was truly how you lived? You wouldn't hold onto past grievances, you'd let go of judgement and you would definitely spend that last day doing what you love, not giving a shit if it was conducive to productivity, caring only if it makes your heart sing, right?
Through my colourful life I've danced with death, challenged boundaries, institutions, bullshit beliefs, rules and regulations, as I know its all a social construct and ultimately all fleeting, impermanent and will die eventually. If I knew I was dying tomorrow I'd spend it doing exactly what I'm doing now, living my passions, being kind, wise, strong and silly all while eating sourdough pizza.
This year several friends and students have also lost their fathers, so I guess this is a shout out to them also, as I'm on the path. From my higher mind I know this; When two souls have been contracted in this lifetime to grow, heal and journey together, there is no death, it's only the body -your souls vehicle- that dies, the souls go on in another dimension, free from the heavy limitations of this 3D reality. Please know that they're still around and can hear, feel and see you in every moment and can be your guides if you just ask. While it may be impossible to see now, but their deaths maybe the best thing that happens to your soul in this lifetime..
Like myself, that night in that yoga class I truly died and was reborn on the mat, emerging into something new and undefinable..or maybe just a better version of myself, moment by moment, breath by breath, which is all we ever have. The power of my breath and Yoga created a phoenix out of me through death and I know it can do the same for you.
Remember death is only the beginning.
With love and light xx