I am starting to realize that I may be turning into that annoying friend who won’t stop talking about yoga. The one who tells you how good it is for your body and mind, how it takes the stress away and how much it has helped me feel so good in my own skin. Oops, I did it again. Ok, just stick with me and I promise there will be more to this story than my infatuation with yoga.
I am happy to be a part of an amazing yoga community where I get to meet and share the practice with a diverse group of kind hearted individuals. Together we get to unwind, we stretch out our weary muscles, together we grow stronger and maybe most importantly we get to wring out all that heavy tension from our bodies, our minds and even our souls.
This place is my home away from home. With every class I learn something new about my body, I stretch my endurance and dive deeper into my soul. With each practice I discover new ways to challenge myself physically and emotionally, allowing myself an opportunity to become stronger yet gentler all at the same time.
There are so many wonderful yoga poses that do a lot of good for my body. So many that I’d have a hard time picking one. But if I must, I would say my favorite yoga posture would have to be Shivasana.
Shivasana is typically the very last pose in a yoga practice where the practitioner lies on their back, surrendering to the relaxation. It is also known as the corpse pose, because, well, you just lay there like a corpse. It may not be the most appealing title but it does get the point across.
This pose is vital to the practice because it is an opportunity to absorb the effects of your work. It is a chance to really connect with your body. A chance to reap what you sow and finally taste the fruit of your hard labor. When in Shivasana, time passes in slow motion while we lay in silent unity. Each and every one of us wrapped in the cocoon of our own thoughts and emotions. Some fall asleep, some snore, it’s all good. No judgement.
This pose is special because this is where the magic happens. It’s where we meditate, where we reflect and let things go. We lay in this total relaxation while our muscles throb, our breath deepens and our hearts open. It is a place of peace, love and unity,
However, not all Shivasanas are created equal. A few months ago I had a nasty cold which kept me away from the studio for over two weeks. When I finally felt I was back to my norm I rushed to book one of my favorite vinyasa flow instructors. The class went great and I felt so good being back on the mat. When it came time for Shivasana however, it took a turn for the worse. As soon as the quiet set in and the lights dimmed, I was suddenly hit with a violent and overwhelming itch in the back on my throat. The pesky cough of weeks past once more attempted to rear its ugly head.
I attempted to dismiss the itch with a subtle clearing of the throat but this only added fuel to the cough fire and made me want to cough even more. In my mind I wanted nothing more than to lay silently with my fellow yogis as we took our final pose yet my body screamed to let out a monstrous cought that would no doubt scare the bajeasus out of everyone in the room.
So I held it. I fought the urge to cough with every fiber of my being. I tried to distract my thoughts, but there it was. I took a sip of water, still, there it was. It seemed to be getting stronger and more powerful the more I resisted. There were only two options left.
1 – get up and run out of the room and potentially trip and injure innocent bystanders.
2 – wait it out and lay in agony of this paralyzing desire to cough up a lung.
Because deep inside I knew that if I let just one little cough slip away, an avalanche of cough would take over my body and make it rain with germs all over my sweet and innocent yogis.
Want to know what I did?
You guessed it. I brave hearted the crap out of that moment. For the safely and comfort of my fellow yogis I sacrificed my peace, my sanity and any chance of enjoying even a second of that Shivasana.
The moral of the story is that our mind, body and spirit is ever-changing. Even some of our most favorite places on earth can feel like the darkest corners of hell if we are not well. When we are distracted, broken-hearted, depressed or ill, the things that usually make us smile may seem dull, dark or even foreign. It’s hard to notice the beauty of the sun rays or the subtle gentle smell of a winter breeze if we are not balanced within.
Whether it is our energy, physique, emotions or state of mind that is out of alignment, it all plays a role in how we react to the world. It affects how we see our surroundings, how we view our lives, how we view ourselves. Being in tune with our inner balance allows us to pause before we respond. It calms the brewing storm of emotions that lurks behind every corner waiting for a chance to snap and unload the baggage on an innocent bystander.
The good news is that our balance is malleable and in most cases we are in control of which way it sways. The dark clouds of emotions come and go. The many physical ailments can be treated or cured and the attitude towards our problems can always be uplifted. For me, yoga is the go to for realigning myself, physically as well as emotionally. But even the all mighty power of yoga asana practice couldn’t keep away the annoyingly painful itch in my throat.
So be it. Perhaps the itch was a screaming sign that my body wasn’t as ready to get back into physical activity as I hoped it was. Still, I survived and have since enjoyed a plenitude of wonderful Shivasanas since the dreadful day of the throat itch. The point is, I didn’t stop doing yoga, I didn’t write off Shivasanas. I let that moment come and I let it go while I slowly and surely worked on realigning my inner self.
In this particular instance the imbalance was clearly caused by the remaining cold in my body but what about all the times its nor so clear? Like when we’re feeling moody due to a chemical imbalance or depressed due to a lack of exercise or poor nutrition? The signs are not always clear and can easily be overlooked causing us to make rash decisions or take harmful steps in the wrong direction. All because we reacted too soon or maybe did not reflect enough. Next time you’re dealing with an uncomfortable situation, before jumping to conclusions, take a moment to assess your alignment, to check in with your balance or maybe simply get a little more rest.
So I ask you my friends, have you ever felt unhappy in your favorite place? Maybe even in your favorite company? Did you reflect on it? Did you find the cause? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time, I’m sending you love, peace and good vibrations.