It is an interesting phase I'm in...so different from where I was a year ago at this time! Between pregnancy complications and an un-planned, early, complicated (traumatic) c-section, I've taken months away from my mat. And while I am so grateful for this precious soul that chose me, it's been a journey to be sure--one in which, time and time again, I'm reminded to take my own advice. Frustrated by my new and mounting limitations, I've shamefully walked past my manduka, lying there so dusty and lonely. It is so natural to be hard on yourself isn't it? To expect or demand more, even though you can equally acknowledge there is nothing left to give? But I'm a YOGA TEACHER!! Even so, I have had to tell myself so many times during this process to relax, heal, enjoy the new baby, rest, accept help. I've had to tell myself everything I've told you, and I have to humbly believe and trust in myself as much as you have.
As difficult as this has been (is) for me, it is also a gift because I've realized something. Last year it was easy to advise my students--to tell them to keep going, to stick with it, to give in, to listen to their bodies. I've always joked that the universe delivers opportunities to hone the skills you need--you need patience? You are going to have a day chuck full of waiting in line, people testing your every last drop. I guess I needed a little more empathy for how hard it is to self-love in the form of NOT DOING. Not saving anyone, not helping, not leading, not making, not creating (well, except a human)...of accepting the "BE-ING" part of being here. So, one easy way to come against that wall is to take away physical control of the body, right? All of you who are injured, ill, chronically fatigued or depressed, in pain, obese...are you nodding your heads right now? Take away the freedom in the body and damn, it does imprison the spirit a bit doesn't it? So my battle right now is: am I a slave to this body? Or can I be the salve?
Maybe you've heard me say this, but I'm not a teacher who is looking to make fit people fitter: for me, teaching has always been about healing the whole self. And I've always attracted and welcomed those with challenges. I have a gorgeous, wonderful student who battles chronic back pain due to severe scoliosis and a fused spine. She works consistently to help her body and mind into a healthy state, but she doesn't really know that freedom you can find with fluid movement in the body. She has to find a suppleness that works with the rods in her back, a wave and a rhythm dictated by permanent perameters. I've watched her work on this--and I've seen a bliss when she finds it for a moment (or a month!), but it takes constant work, and usually quite a bit of discomfort. And I tell her to be grateful. I have had many overweight and heavy students over the years, who also must work with and around larger limbs and flesh to reach a release. I tell them love yourself and your body. I have had students who fight auto-immune, chronic disorders that cause pain and extreme fatigue, in which every movement, especially showing up that day, is a struggle. I tell them--you can do this, You have the energy! I show all of them that they are not a slave to their physical form, but a vibrant expression of something greater. Through breath, movement, thoughtfulness...I teach them how to be the salve that soothes the body and all its limitations.
You are all MY TEACHERS: I bow down and honor you all! I have thought of all of you so often--so humbled by the fact that you listened to me, when I had that ease of movement, free of physical restriction--and I am sincerely inspired by you! It is for you that I do what I do. And as I travel through this period in time (which fortunately for me probably does have an end in sight), where I am so tired and drained, in pain, with so little inspiration to get back to the mat and "take time for myself," (even though I know it is exactly what I need) I hold you in the altar of my heart! You don't know it but you're the reason I'm finding my way back, little by little. I am reminded by you that I can be the salve to this body, which has gone through so much, given and offered beyond what can be expected, delivered me where I'm needed. It's such a simple thing really, to decide to love and comfort and condition myself and the state of my body...but it still feels hard and complicated. So I say to myself, today and tomorrow: "You are not a slave: you are the salve." And I'll breathe. And I'll think of you.
With this in mind, I've had to recently accept that I need more time before I get back to teaching. I am letting go of the ideas I had about my recovery and am taking the remainder of this year to get back to a strong and healthy state. I am so grateful for your trust and support, and hope to see you in the yoga room early 2015. Much love my yogis and friends!