Pigeon Makes Me cry

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Tracey Shadley in Pigeon Pose

Eka Pada Kapotasana more commonly known as Pigeon pose, has always been my nemesis. It’s a beautiful pose and I love that feeling I get in my hip when I am in the pose….but my brain…it never stop working: Am I doing it right? Are my toes and knee in line with my hip? Is my back ankle crooked? Am I leaning my weight too much to one side? Is my front leg on too much of an angle? Wait a minute…am I actually breathing? All of this came to a halt a few months ago.

This past winter I spent 3 months away in Sedona Arizona. I took what I know will be only the first of e of my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Trainings. This was such an incredible and intense experience. I learned to take time for myself by waking up every morning at 3:00am to do the Ayurvedic self –care routine (Dinacarya). I learned discipline by getting to the center by 4:30 am to do our daily Sadhana which included asanas, cleanses and chanting. I learned to nourish myself by eating an Ayurvedic diet and more consciously. I learned to do asanas safely and fluidly while appreciating my breath. I learned to love myself.

One day I looked into the mirror and saw someone else’s eyes looking back at me. I mentioned that to my teacher and she said “look around you, you all have a new light in your eyes”…..and we did. The training was in a very safe and protective setting…..I started to wonder how I was going to maintain this light when I left this space.

I was lucky, I had 2 more months to live in Sedona which is full of people filled with the same inner light. I fell in love. I fell in love with the people around me who shared my interests and became close friends. I fell in love with the place which is surrounded by beautiful scenery and beautiful spirit. I fell in love with the energy that fills the air. I fell in love with a man who really saw me and adored me for the quirky person I am.

I fell hard for the whole lifestyle I had created for myself. I loved this person I became. I was at peace, I was happy, I was shining. How was I going to leave? Why was I leaving? I truly felt that I belonged there. But I had commitments back home. I had made promises to return……

When the course ended, I maintained the yogic lifestyle on my own. I did some form of yoga every day. Whether it was meditation and mantra on the red rocks, a kirtan in the evening or one of many asana classes, I was dedicated and determined. I was living a joyous life. My heart had never felt so “full”.

As my time in this wonderful place was coming closer to the end, I found myself avoiding yoga. I was sleeping in later. I was doing an abridged morning routine and I was coming up with excuses to miss my classes…I was especially avoiding the classes. I knew I was doing it but couldn’t really grasp the “WHY”. Looking back, the truth is I didn’t want to think about the “why”.

One day I finally dragged myself to my favorite Hot Yoga class. I love the heat and was very happy going through the vinyasas, trying to keep my balance and breathing deeply. My brain was on hold, as it should be and I was feeling just fine…..until……Pidgeon pose.  As I inflated my chest and reached out to fold forward and lay my head to rest ,I was overcome by sadness. As I properly aligned my hips, the tears started streaming down my cheeks. I couldn’t control it. What is going on I was wondering…..but I wasn’t supposed to think. I was just supposed to breathe, so I tried. But the thoughts started flowing with the tears so I acknowledged them . “I don’t want to go home”,”I am going to feel so alone ” , “how am I going to say goodbye to the man I have grown to love” “when am I coming back”……….. I thought each thought, shed a tear for each one and then tried to let it go.

Then it hit me and I had to LAUGH! THIS is why I was avoiding the classes. I knew the asana would take me where I was not yet ready to go. I brought all of the buried emotions to a head in a gentle and loving way and I was able to see them and work towards dealing with them; It was a wonderful learning experience.
Now, every time I prepare to go into Pidgeon I take my time. I breathe even more deeply and I open my heart to anything that wants to come up. I let the emotion flow through me like Prana and I embrace any tears that come. I can handle it; I accept it

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