Yin Yoga and the Blessing

I decided early this morning to sign up for a Yin yoga and meditation class.  I’d never done this kind of yoga before, so I didn’t know what to expect. When I got in the studio, it was fairly dark, and quite warm. I hadn’t realized this was going to be a hot yoga class. There was soft music playing that sounded vaguely classical at times, but mostly the kind of thing you would expect in a yoga studio. I found a spot, spread out my mat and collected a bolster and a block as directed by the teacher.

The class consisted of asanas that we held for up to 7 minutes at a time to gently allow us to stretch and let the muscles gently relax.  The teacher guided us through each one with instructions on breathing and being aware of the sensations in our bodies. We went into Savasana as an intermediary between some poses to allow for greater reflection on body awareness. I started out with a lot of….not exactly tingling, more like vibration going from my feet up my legs, and a general sensation of everything vibrating at a much lower frequency.  I find that sometimes I wake up at night, or early in the morning feeling like my bed is vibrating, but when I put my palm flat on the mattress I can feel nothing.  I have even gone so far as to feel the wall to see if it is the building.  I’m not sure what that is all about.

At the previous two classes I have been to the teachers have asked us to set our intention for our practice that day.  My intention had been to be present.  This time I changed my intention a bit.  I have been listening to a podcast by Shelby Forsythia called Coming Back- Conversations on life after loss.  She is also an intuitive grief coach and trained in the Grief Recovery Method, so she sometimes has helpful exercises to use.  One of them is to personify your grief, talk to it and find out what it needs. I modified that to work with my intention for yoga today by bringing grief with me to be present in the class with me.  I had my conversation with grief as I went along to reassure it that we would do this together and we would take care of and love each other. I told grief that it could stand aside and just be there, or be in me but that it was part of me I would not abandon it.

In the past several months I have written letters to K. to express what I have been feeling and to have a sort of conversation with him. I decided to have a conversation with him now in the same way that I did with Grief. I told him that I was releasing him from whatever unfinished business we have. I was able to say that in some ways I wished I could see or feel him, but that I also had been afraid that if he did show up that I might be overcome by the anger and hurts that I have experienced since his death. I apologized to him for this and acknowledged that his comings and goings, and present state are not mine to dictate. At that point I had a sense of K’s presence with me. He was the K. from 20 years ago with his longish hair, wearing his purple hoodie, jeans and Birkenstocks. I just stayed there in feeling his love, tears silently tracing a path from my eyes down into my hair as I lay in Savasana, grateful for the dark room so I could quietly have this moment to myself.

I have felt a shift in my heart. It makes me think of Jacob in the book of Genesis. Jacob is traveling with his family and sends them across the river. When he is alone an angel comes and they wrestle all night long. When the angel saw that Jacob would not give up he wrenches Jacobs him and says “let me go”. Jacob refuses to do so until the angel gives him a blessing. The angel gives him a new name and tells him it is “because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome”. I have wrestled my own angel. I have come out of it tired, with a limp but I am no longer in an intense struggle. Somehow I can breathe a little easier.

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