Dark is the night
Monday December 21st is the winter solstice, the longest period of darkness before the light of day returns to us. A celebration of night.
Last week, while speaking and considering the gifts I had been given this year, I was loath to admit that the hurt was back, ready to swallow me whole and hold me there. I thought, “I’ll run and try and hide- there’s always wine. And denial. And wine.”
Sometimes we step onto the mat and we feel lighter, better, more buoyant and blissed out on movement, breath and strength. Then there are those other times, those dark days that leave our mats tear-stained. Those times when just the act of leaning our foreheads to the ground in a child’s pose ignites sadness that we believed to be forgotten. A breath into the hips in half pigeon leaves us wailing for things we’ve lost. Those times when we are crawling out of our skin in savasana or meditation just wanting quiet that we can’t seem to locate within ourselves. We are confronted with our hurt, our pain and our loss, the things that lurk in the shadows within our bodies. Loss and frustration that we’ve held in our joints and muscles and that relentlessly refuse to leave the home they’ve found there.
What I’m most grateful for in yoga is that our shadows come to light in a room full of others. There have been many times that I’ve heard my students cry into their mats and my first thought is always, “me too, thank you.” In these hard moments we are held by community, we are held in a time and place where all experiences of self can exist. The yoga mat can hold the weight of what ails us and sometimes that is enough.
Sitting and breathing with our shadows gives us the opportunity to see them more clearly and acknowledge them. We can befriend them and hold our night, our shadows, lightly. One of my favorite quotes is by Aldous Huxley who writes, “… feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply.” “Lightly” is our breath in yoga and our flight into half-moon pose, sometimes just showing up is an act of feeling lightly. Feeling “lightly” enough to face ourselves and deeply enough to allow the mat to hold the pain that is alive in our joints and muscles. Lightly enough to hold our hands to our chests and feel the beating heart beneath them. Deeply enough to shake within that simple gesture and wonder how we will move forward off the mat. Luckily, there are so many others around us practicing that same gesture, asking that same question, and taking the same step forward.
Vajrapradama Mudra (Unshakable Trust)
What: A gesture, an energetic seal, a symbol of intention
Where: In Meditation
When: Whenever you are able to carve out time for yourself
How: Interlace your fingers to the webbing and rest palms against your chest
Why: To connect to the third chakra, manipura, to harness will power, inner strength, courage, and transformative light
Inspiration Station ✨