I’m flooded with thoughts and feelings about the yoga class I took yesterday morning.
It was indulgent. My husband was at work, my kids were at school, and I was sitting in a spacious, quiet, dimly lit room with soft music playing in the background and a delicious smelling incense floating in the air. For 90 minutes, there was no laundry, grocery shopping, television, email, Facebook or Words with Friends. It was just my yoga mat, my downward-facing dog and me. And it cost $18! I needed it and deserved it, but I felt guilty for having it.
It was scary. After two c-sections and ventral hernia surgery, my abdominal muscles are like jell-o. On top of that, I had a deep muscle tear after the hernia surgery that left me in pain for several months. I exercise, but I do mostly cardio because it gets the baby weight off and it’s been easy on my stomach. Thankfully, I didn’t reinjure myself during the class. I’ve lost a lot of strength and flexibility, but I felt no pain, just a hunger to get it back.
It made me nostalgic. I am – or more accurately, used to be – a dancer. In college and during my early twenties, I studied, performed, created, improvised and taught dance. I actually have an M.F.A. in Modern Dance and Choreography. Dance was once a huge part of my life, and now, somehow, it’s not. It feels so long ago that I usually start a conversation about it with “Once upon a time…” There are plenty of reasons why I stopped dancing, but deep down none of them feel good enough. I wouldn’t want to change anything about my journey, especially because of what and whom I have in my life, but I do have regrets. Walking into a yoga studio, with mirrored walls and creaking wood floors, is a lot like walking into a dance studio, and a wave of disappointment washes over me every time.
It made me sad. I had a molar pregnancy in December 2004. In very layman’s terms, a molar pregnancy is a miscarriage of abnormal fetal tissue. After the miscarriage, the fetal cells can grow back as cancer in the uterus and can spread to other parts of the body. It’s a pregnancy gone bad – very bad – and it happened to me. I spent the next year enduring chemotherapy injections, drowning in depression and wondering why it happened to me. I relied on yoga intensely during that time to escape, heal, cope and find purpose. It was through weekly yoga practice, breathing exercises and imagery meditation that I envisioned myself someday holding a healthy baby in my arms. Two years later, I held Dylan for the first time.
One more thing. It made me immensely happy. If you’ve been reading my blog, you know me well enough now to know that I can be reflective to the point of foolishness. Practicing yoga yesterday made me feel some really strong emotions, but it also reminded me to let go. The yoga teacher said a wonderful thing toward the end of class. She said we think we’re human “doings” who must always be doing something (or in my case, thinking something). But we’re not. We’re human “beings” and we have to learn how to just be. Yesterday, I awakened muscles I haven’t felt in months (years!). I stretched my arms and legs. I rooted my feet into the floor and lengthened my torso. I rested in Savasana, and with my eyes closed, I saw my thoughts float above me like clouds. I woke up today with sore muscles everywhere. It was challenging, invigorating and exhausting. I can’t wait to go back.