One morning, I set an intention to go to the Yoga Journal Conference and just like that, a ticket somehow manifested for me on Facebook. No joke. Cindy Mussman Valentine and Michele DeNocola of Yoga Shack in Bethpage had made an offer to donate a ticket and I was the lucky recipient.
The next day, I got a sub for my own class and arrived 30 minutes early for Colleen Saidman Yee and Rodney Yee's 8:30 am sequencing workshop. Question: Do I prop up against one of the pillars in the middle of the room, hide on the side, hide in back, or just go for it and put the mat right up front?
The workshop was like one long dance. I've taken many of their classes, online workshops, and yes, Rodney Yee's videos dating back to the VHS days over 20 years ago! Those two are a powerful, lovely team and when they alternate voices as one gives cues as the other adjusts students, it sounds like music and poetry.
Next up, a spring reset class with Jillain Pransky and live music by Scott E. Moore. Yum. Chanting and moving in a room filled with a couple of hundred people is always a great way to spend a morning.
But then, I breathed until dinnertime. Two hours of pranayama with Dharma Mittra and two hours with Max Strom. This yoga journey will kick you in the lungs if you try to hide your emotions. I had made it to 4 pm without an emotional moment, but when we came to rest after hours of deep, conscious breathing, I cried. I'm mourning so many losses at once. I am good at funerals. I am good at hospitals. Nobody gets to see me cry. I don't cry. I hold it all together. I'm the oldest child. That's what we do.
Yoga wasn't having it. Let's just say, I'm glad I had a washcloth over my eyes.
Max Strom's book, A Life Worth Breathing, makes so much sense. I read a quote to my students in class that Sunday:
“We know that we deserve and are meant to live an inspired life that rises above mere existence—but how? FIRST: Heal the body. With the body revitalized, you can function at a higher level in all other aspects. Learn to govern the body so the body doesn’t govern you. SECOND: Calm the mind. The more still and clear your mind is, the better your decision-making process will be, allowing you to choose from wisdom rather than fear or desire. THIRD: Heal your heart, your emotions. The more your heart is open and filled with joy and gratitude, the more you will enjoy life and be able to shine your light out into the world. The more light you shine into the world, the more you can help others with your very presence.”
By the way, I did put my mat up front for our morning practice. It felt great to show up fully, imperfections and all.
Writing Yoga Prompt #266: Write about a time you covered your heart with armor. Write about a time you found the courage to take it off.