I HATE YOGA. My coworker has been trying to get me to yoga for a year now but I keep telling him how much I hate it. And I do. I hate it so much. Like a whole big bunch. Everyone says it’s relaxing but I find it excruciating, a tiny bit of hell at a glance. It’s not calm; it’s hard work. And you sweat. And sweating is just a problem for me. If I’m at the gym on the elliptical, on Level 2, and I start to sweat I just boop-boop-it-down to Level 1. No sweating in my books!
BUT… I do like those last two minutes. Those two minutes when they tell you to take a nap! You just lay there, lights out, good smelly stuff and it’s all just so magical. But other than that, the whole bit before that makes me want to punch someone. I get soooo angry during yoga, all zenned-out and piiiiissed.
Thing is, life’s been a bit too much for me the past seven months, but committed to the belief that God teaches us really importanty things through pain and suffering, I was not going to take any meds. I whole-heartedly believe there is a time and place for meds. I mean, as Glennon Meltons says: Jesus loves me this I know, for he gave me Lexapro.
But that still small voice, that little God in me, beckoned me not to numb the pain but to let pain do its work. So I did. For seven months. But then someone noticed that I was a little depleted – like a whole lot. Like I’m a real big mess. And I think my body just can’t fight the fight anymore. And they told me so (thank GAWD for friends who tell you what you can’t always see yourself!)
So this week I caved and took a couple of Xanax. A couple of Xanax and I signed up for a grief and loss yoga class. A dear friend of mine is a yoga instructor and suggested it. I’d usually say no because well, I HATE YOGA. But something in me. Something said, yes, let’s! When I told my coworker than I’m finally going to do it, that I’d signed myself up for a grief and loss yoga class, well he told me that every yoga class is essentially a grief and loss yoga glass. Truche, I say (both touché with a touch of truth) BUT this one specifically said so. And I figured the worst thing that would happen was that I’d just nap for 75 minutes in that nappy-pose called child’s pose. And if anyone told me to do anything otherwise I’d just Shhhh-them and say: $10. I paid $10 for this. If they tried again I’d repeat, Shhh-$10!
And so I went. And... I was the awkward one who was late-ish, didn’t have a mat, or water… OR AJOURNAL. Because apparently when you do a grief and loss yoga class you’re supposed to bring a journal too. The instructor gave me a couple sheets of paper and a thin-tipped marker and I felt like the kid whose parents forgot to go school supply shopping, or the kid sitting at the SATs with a sharpie marker; the instructor assuming any sort of future is near-impossible.
But I sucked it up. I almost wanted to run out. Because I’m really good at running when I feel uncomfortable.
But I sat. And the instructor started speaking. And her voice was soft, full of warmth. And she told us her story a tiny bit. How she’s a hospice counselor. How when she went through two huge losses at the same time she had no idea about yoga but found herself on a yoga mat. And it was just her and the yoga mat for ONE HOUR. Just her. Not in the past. Not in the future. Just her whole self…hugging the mat. She said she didn’t leave the child’s pose that whole hour. She said we could stay in the child’s pose the whole time too! (JACKPOT! I thought. GAME ON!)
But then she started talking about how all we were going to do was move, if we could. And breathe, because we can. And that was all we were going to do, for an hour.
She talked about how we warm up our bodies. How grief can get stuck, of sorts. How the moves we do open the heart. And that made sense. And as we moved and breathed, I felt my heart move. I felt my body acknowledge the pain.
And at the end of the class she told us: You did it. You moved. You breathed.
Guys, when grief is real bad, real hard. Those words. Those truths. They are precious. I moved. I breathed.
I was by far the youngest one there.
I was by far the one least excited when the class began.
And I was the only one who cried; Dammit. But I’m better for it. For having gone.
And tonight I’m just wondering if you need a yoga mat? Maybe you don’t want to try a yoga class. Trust me, I GET IT! But maybe you need to create that space. Where it’s just you and time-atta-pause. An hour to hug a mat. To let it ALL out. I didn’t have a mat when I went. They gave me one. And I think that’s what it means to love. I think love offers the hurting and suffering a mat; giving them permission and space to be whole-wholedly-broken.
The world is scary, you guys. And my heart breaks for all the loss and grief. And the only thing I know to do these days is to offer my mat. And if you need a mat, I will share mine with you. Promise. The divine light in me honoring the divine light in you.