There have been a lot of changes going on in my life that I can’t even begin to explain.
Currently, the universe is forcing new beginnings on me, or maybe a better phrase is that I’m starting over in some areas. Right now I’m in a transition stage. It’s exciting, thrilling, overwhelming, suspenseful, but mostly it’s downright uncomfortable!
I’m okay with change. I like change, but not knowing how things are going to unfold can be stressful. I’m also okay with discomfort even though I dread it. I know everything’s going to work out; it always does. Any kind of discomfort, if treated with awareness and compassion, will help me grow into a stronger, confident, and more compassionate person, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy!
Some of my yogi friends say they’ve learned to love this phase because they know it’s only going to get better from here. I know that too. I embrace and own it, but I haven’t learned to love it yet. I’ll get there. Yoga has taught me that anything is possible, and that everything grows slowly. All is coming.
Last week in backbends, I had a minor panic attack. When I stood up for drop backs, my heart started to beat fast. I felt a dizzy, light headed, and nauseated. I continued to steady the mind and the breath, and then did my first drop back. After I came back up, I was okay, but still had that panicky feeling. I took about five breaths, and did another. I started to come back to normal, and finished with a teacher.
I sat down to do my forward bend, and the instructor came over to give me a squishy (Yes, that’s what we call it!). Squishies are delightful presses on the back to help the practitioner release any pressure in the spine that was created from backbends. I love squishies more than anything, but that day was just awful. I felt so compressed and constricted. I couldn’t catch my breath.
I felt totally out of control, and in my mind I kept saying, “Be done. Please be done. I can’t take it anymore.” Eventually I was released. I sat up, and felt so sick to my stomach. I had to run into the bathroom to be alone, and splash some water on my face. My heart was beating so fast. After a second, I realized I was magnifying this by focusing on it.
Then, it dawned on me that when I got up and ran into the other room, I ran from my problems.
It’s interesting how our obstacles show up in practice. Over the last three months, since I have moved into my new place, I have been struggling with areas of my practice that I haven’t struggled with in years. I’ve been feeling so behind and angry with myself. I realize that this is all part of the journey. It’s not about the asana, but about what the asana reveals.
It wasn’t long before I noticed that my judgements about practice were completely twisted. I’m not behind! Just because I am struggling in specific postures doesn’t mean I’m going backwards. It’s just symbolic of how I’m starting over, and how uncomfortable it can be.
At the moment I realized that, I started to tear up. I didn’t go into full on crying, but I could feel it rise in my heart center, and then my tear ducks became a little wet, and I was slightly congested. What a mess! There was no need to fight this struggle. If I fight it, then I just deepen the samskara.
[Tweet “Yoga is not easy. It’s not relaxing. It puts your fears on a table right in front of you.”]
See, yoga is all about observation. Observing these moments, happy or awful, and not letting them control you. When I was at my vipassana retreat, the reason it was so much tougher than asana practice was because we were required to sit and not move. I had no choice but to sit with the anxiety, sadness, and suffering that surfaced in my chest. The beauty about it though, was that the moment passed, and I was okay again.
It taught me about the ebb and flow of life. It taught me that to be happy in life, you have to be okay with all of it. You have to be aware that no matter how amazing your life is, you can’t escape suffering unless you find a way to be at peace with its existence.
Yoga is not easy. It’s not relaxing. It puts your fears on a table right in front of you and makes you pick through them, one by one, in many different ways, over and over again. You’re going to have to open them up, look them in the eyes, admit their existence, confront them, and learn to love them.
It’s only then that you will begin to feel free.
So, here I am confronting them……
I’m ready to move forward.
Next time, I know what to do with the panic arises. I just need to take lotus, breathe deep with sound, bring my drishti inside, and let the moment pass.
Then, I take next posture.