I love yoga. I’ve written this before, in much earlier postings on this blog. Just when I think I’ve sorted it out, in terms of how yoga has changed my life, I’m surprised to see how it makes me learn new things about myself.
Tonight, my favourite yoga teacher and guru, Willa, had us start by pairing off with someone. We had to sit back to back and then be focused on our breathing. It wasn’t as bad as I initially thought it would be, which was good, but it made me think about things…. You see….I’m used to being solitary. I don’t have a big family, don’t very often get hugs, and I’m used to being strong and independent. Put me back-to-back with a fellow yogi and I’m like “Oooohhhh, crap. I have to support someone and they have to support me.” This ia a hard thing to do when you are only ever used to supporting yourself if you live a solitary life. Sometimes, you ask people for help, which takes a lot of you being vulnerable, and they try their best….or maybe they say ‘no’….or maybe they convey ‘no’ in their actions. As an intuitive person, I get it, whichever way it comes to me. So, leaning up against someone, or leaning forward and then supporting their back on your back, is a bit unsettling for someone who has to be strong for themselves all the time. It’s tiring, being strong. I’m not used to having that physical support….so feeling it, tangibly, makes me sad. I started getting weepy in yoga class. How weird is that?! I’ve had strange, out-of-body experiences during yoga before, but none of this weepy stuff. It surprised me, but it also interested me on an intellectual level.
I’ve been doing some research on hip openers, which I think is what we were also doing tonight. It sure as hell felt like that to me, and I have a wonky left hip with a staple in there somewhere. (Thanks, Sick Kids, circa 1982!) Anyway, apparently it has to do with the mind-body connection, which is why I love yoga in the first place. It helped me navigate my way through depression about four and a half years ago….and has been my companion ever since. Put back-to-back-with-a-stranger yoga moves, and hip openers together….and well….you have a perfect emotional storm.
I also find that the same thing happens when people try to hug me. I like hugs. Always have. :) It’s just weird that a hug can garner such a visceral, physical response….that you can feel as if you are less strong somehow. It’s as if you are okay, all together and solid, if you build up your walls and can manage to be independent. Tonight’s yoga class made me realize that we are meant to be co-dependent. Yes, we can manage if we’re on our own. We can flourish. We can have rich lives. I do! :) (But…..we must also recognize that we are souls meeting with other souls. Willa said that tonight: “Feel your partner’s back supporting you. Feel your partner’s breath. This is soul to soul connection.”)
The other thing it made me think about is how, when you’ve been depressed in the past and are well now, you can be stigmatized much too often. (People say stigma is reduced, but I haven’t seen it yet, either in my personal or professional spheres of existence.) Anyway, when you’ve been ill with depression, and you’ve struggled to get well, and you are well, it still amazes me that people will say, when you speak up for yourself, or stand your ground, that it’s (hushed voices) “because she’s sick.” No, she is not sick. She is a stronger, newer, more vocal person. People may not be used to the new, healthier person. It’s easier for them to brand you as still being ‘sick’….even when you aren’t. It’s a brutal, hopeless battle….so I have given up fighting it. If a person is that daft, then why is it my role to educate and try to make them see that recovery from mental illness is possible….even if it means that you’ve evolved into someone they don’t recognize any more?)
This all leads, strangely, and very tangentially, to my raccoon mess. I have two in my garage roof. I’m hoping they are siblings….and not mates. I am praying that they don’t have babies. I’ve been in denial about having raccoons…until last week…when I saw them. My neighbour kept telling me I had them, as they scale the fence between our two yards, and I trust him, but I was also in denial. After all, denial is an easier thing, isn’t it?! :) This week, I had to ask someone for help. I felt guilty having to ask, feeling as if I was bothering someone….it’s ridiculous and it makes no logical sense…and it probably has to do something with how I was raised by my parents, who are now both dead. It’s funny how your parents imprint themselves on your life, in ways you hardly ever could imagine, both positive and negative.) So, now I have help dealing with the raccoons (in a fine, legal, kind way, I might add) but it took me a lot to ask for that help, perhaps because I have asked for help many times before and been let down. I’m pretty sure that is it….but what do I know. I’m just a writer….not a psychologist. I do know, though, that these raccoons of mine look a lot like a re-play of the old “Gremlins” movie. Next up: swinging from the crab apple tree in the front yard and terrorizing the neighbourhood dogs. :)
So….what have we learned here? Back-to-back yoga is key. It makes me feel unsettled. That’s not a bad thing; being out of your comfort zone during this life time is a good thing, even if you feel you haven’t got your sea legs. :) The other thing I’ve learned is that hip openers are killer for cracking you open emotionally, especially if you’re overtired or exhausted by trying to get raccoons to leave your garage! So….the lesson is….do the back-to-back yoga and hip opening poses at home, where it doesn’t matter if you leak tears for no apparent reason. It’s a release of some sort, for sure….and that can’t be a bad thing. :)
peace out, yogi friends. k.