June 3, 2012

Unblocking the Channels

In late April, my inspirational Grammie passed away. I had never before witnessed someone's last breath. It had been one of my fears - being "near" death. It was an intense experience, good and bad, and one that I will never forget.

Her passing has been very difficult. I can't begin to describe the emotions because I'm not sure what they are - except that my heart feels sad. Yes, I miss Grammie but I think the sadness is really about what I witnessed in her final hours. This is not something that I will describe her except to say that I now understand B.K.S Iyengar's statement, from Light on Pranayama, "it is possible to live without food or water for a few days, but when respiration ceases so does life."

The past two weeks I have had a difficult time practicing yoga and pranayama. In the asanas I feel too open, too vulnerable, too exposed. My heart wants to be protected and my body to turn in on itself as I tighten up mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Each day that I have not practiced yoga I have become sadder and have felt very alone.

Finally, yesterday, I went to my favorite yoga class with my dearest teacher Nancy Leigh-Smith. I know that this is the place where I can unravel. Finally I was ready to start yoga again. This morning I woke up after many strange dreams and realized that unless I allowed my body to open up again, with a regular practice, my path was going to get darker. In one of my dreams my cat Tika was again alive and was curling around my legs. I picked her up and took her with me, away from the danger and the darkness, and I could feel her breathing against my chest. We were safe.

This morning as I bravely re-awakened my yoga practice I paid close attention to my body as I stretched awake my limbs and my again found my core. Slowly, I unraveled all the tension and with each pose I could feel the lightness return. I elongated through the stuck channels and as I did so the clouds opened, literally, outside my window and the sun brightened my space. Moving into pranayama my heart was available and I shed some tears for my special Grammie and gazed at my photo of Tika, whom Grammie so loved.