Monday, March 2, 2015

Get a good grip on your heels.

Last week was insane. I can't go into all of the crazy, but suffice it to say, I never want another week like that again. Looking back, if I had to say what caused most of the anguish, I would say it was lack of planning on the part of others, insensitivity and assumptions, and the foolish feeling in me to always need verification of my feelings from others combined with a tendency to want to take care of people in impossible ways.

Basically, a recipe for disaster.

By the time Saturday rolled around, I had an emotional hangover to match the real hangover I had the morning after my bachelorette party. I felt bruised and battered and I had a desperate urge to feel something physical to take away the emotional drama. So I went to hot yoga. While I usually strive to do my very best in class, I gave myself permission to get through whatever I could in the class, even if that meant just laying in Savasana. Plus I knew that even if I cried through the whole class, no one would know because it would just look like sweat. Hopefully.

Luckily, I did okay. I did take a knee for the second set of Triangle Pose. I got through all of the floor poses in a good state of mind until the second set of Half-Tortoise Pose, when I began to have a mini-panic attack at the thought what was next - Camel Pose. Camel is always a hard one for me. If there is anything emotional going in my life at the time, it usually bubbles up during Camel. I've cried in it, I've felt elated in it, I've also felt absolutely nothing in it (but that is rare.)

I found I was breathing so fast I thought I would hyperventilate. Even though I was 3 feet from the front mirror, I avoided any eye contact with myself. I dragged myself into the beginning position of the pose, head down. Leaning backward into the pose felt like I was being flayed. Or crucified. I could barely endure the feeling of exposure. I kept thinking of the terrible conversations I'd had in the preceding days, and I recognized the same feelings of panic and despair. When it was time to come out, I got out as quickly as possible, collapsed onto my back, and cried, dreading the knowledge I'd just have to do it all again.

But that was when I got pissed. When Savasana was done, I let my anger drive me. I turned around, stood up on my knees, and stomped my way towards the mirror (which looks as comical as it sounds), looking at forward the entire time. Before I dropped my head back to begin the pose, I stared into my own eyes and let the person in the mirror look defiantly back. I went into Camel and let all my anger override my fear of the openness. It was the exact same pose as before, but the intention was completely different. I let that sink in, and thought of the recent conversations and how I could improve my intentions, even if the consequences are the same. I stayed in the pose just a few seconds after the instruction to come out came, just to prove to myself I could face and learn from hard things.

After Camel comes Rabbit. Rabbit is as closed off as a pose can be.

It was a relief to feel protected again. I listened to the instructions that were given - get a good grip on your heels. What I heard was "Get a grip on your life, Becky." I need to find a good handhold inside of me to balance my recent openness with people I've been closed off to for 20 years with my tendency to close off to those same people. Pulling back in didn't negate the openness I felt before. The thought came to me to adapt to the extremes and find the middle. As I came out of Rabbit, the instructor reminded me to come out slowly, aligning my spine one vertebrae at a time (which is so symbolic of what has been going on lately), tightening my core, bringing up my head last, keeping that good grip on my heels, and finding my eyes in the mirror.

I don't always have such a dramatic yoga class. I went to the class with the hope that Camel pose would do its worst and allow me to see clearer.

What I took away from the class was:

  • I can be open with people without flaying myself or allowing them to flay me. 
  • My Camel doesn't have to be so deep, and my Rabbit doesn't have to be so protected.
  • I need to stop finding the extremes in everything, stop allowing others to ruin my zen, straighten my spine, and lift up my head to face the world.


Feisty Harriet said...



Amy Sorensen said...

I'm sorry it is hard right now, but isn't it amazing how we can process things through our bodies???

It will get better!