Yoga Means Union

Yoga is an ancient practice that has influenced me for many years. I continue to play with hatha yoga, explore breath and work my way into asana while avoiding injury. The practice was first a means of helping my body deal with the physical pain that came from poor alignment after being hit by a drunk driver. Over time the practice is fun, challenging, playful, serious, spiritual and every shade in between.

I’ve been so busy lately I’ve had little time for a practice. I found myself with some space tonight, lit candles to warm the studio then worked my way through some poses while watching my breath. That is to say, I slow down my respiration, breathe through my nose purposefully and allow the breath and body to merge into each other. You’re joining the body and breath to then access the mind and spirit.

In the space of a minute my emotions could go from tears to a smile that permeates everything. There have been so many challenges in the past 14 years since that accident. The one thing I never lost was the belief that life was what I made it. I decided to get better. Excuse me if I smile uncontrollably or shed a tear when I consider what life has given me.

14 years

I began to consider how long I’ve been working on chronic pain issues recently. My journey began in 1999 after being hit by a drunk driver. Since then I’ve done everything within my power to help my body heal. It’s nearly impossible to explain what I’ve integrated, worked on and processed over the years.

My spine itself has gone through so many changes alone that it’s like tracking a history. The physical component is intriguing. I was told after my accident that I was fine only to discover that I was in fact, far from fine. My health deteriorated and my spine slowly closed down, becoming immobile and stiff. Years of yoga and bodywork have removed those barriers and I laugh when I tell others that the spine is a series of joints, meaning that it moves. When it stops moving, oh you’re in for lots of pain.

Maintaining range of motion, muscular strength and allowing blood flow and vascularity keep one young. Scar tissue that I’ve helped stretch and at times gently tear apart has been removed. Feeling a small area that’s immobile start to move again is a sensation that’s almost impossible to explain to someone who’s never felt it. I’ve felt a deadness turn into softening then the feeling of cold air blowing into areas of my upper back and spine for years. Life returns. Stagnant water has become a creek with ebb and flow.

Breathing into a restriction, stretching into a yoga pose and integrating my own self has been the most healing journey in my life. Losing your alignment will queue you into how your spiritual life can be rerouted through the movement of a single vertebrae.

May we all keep breathing and moving while meditating. Happy holidays.