By Angie DeRosa
I find myself having difficulty writing about this topic because my relationship with yoga is so deeply personal. The only thing I have to go on is my story. My life rhythm is determined by yoga. We all have a life rhythm. Yoga gets us in touch with that life rhythm.
In the haste of life today, we can easily forget that we are miracles. Our entire being, our very existence, is a miracle. The messes that can pollute our minds need to be straightened out and cleansed.
We need to return to ourselves, our spirits and our bodies, with reminders of the miracle of being.
Breathe with me. Deep, cleansing breath.
Each person has his or her own “messes” that happen in life. For me, there has been my husband’s job loss and my unexpected return to work to support my family; the death of my parents and grandparents; unexpected relocations from one state to another and then another. My family has been through a lot over the last several years. I center myself through yoga. I remember standing in a room with other pregnant mothers, practicing prenatal yoga. The instructor would repeat, “In the storms of life, I stand strong.”
You, dear reader, repeat that. “In the storms of life, I stand strong.” Now, take a deep, cleansing breath.
It’s empowering. When you are balanced on a mat and repeating that through your breaths, it’s even more empowering. From sunrise salutation to warrior pose through pigeon and downward dog, you are strong and steady, feeling the power of your muscles and the ability of your body to carry you through anything.
You may have even cleared a little more debris from your mind.
My daughter was born in the fall of 2009; I performed yoga in the delivery room. I had my yoga ball with me. I ended up with an emergency C-section but I still had the benefits of yoga. And I would realize even more the benefits, when, six weeks later, we were in a car accident. Me, recovering from a C-section, my husband, and our newborn, rear-ended along a highway in Dallas. The car was totaled.
My head was full of debris and my body was scrambling to make sense of its pollutants that included post-partum hormones and the internal and external C-section wounds. I had a baby that I needed to care for and now, this. Life is full of chaos that will manifest itself into psychological chaos. We need to center, retool and focus.
Breathe. Deep, cleansing breaths. In the sea of life, I stand strong.
I remember waking in a hotel room in the early morning hours after that accident, grateful that we all were OK. I remember walking to get breakfast and breathing in the cool Texas air. I remember being grateful that I had allowed yoga to teach me how to breathe.
The term yoga often causes a very similar reaction in a lot of people, “I’m not flexible.” I promise you, if you begin to practice, you will notice the impact to your mind more than you will to your body. But it’s all interconnected. Your level of flexibility doesn’t matter. You work within your own body’s potential. Like with anything else in life, you cannot compare yourself to others. Someone will always be more flexible. Someone will always be less flexible. Only you have the power to guide your own body.
I have practiced yoga now for the better part of eight years. I used to run, then I had to have a surgery to remove a massive growth from above my right knee. That growth had atrophied my major quad muscle and ligaments. Once I was done with two years’ worth of therapy, I was able to resume regular workouts but not running. I never would be able to run unless I wanted to risk severe damage to my knee. I still have to have another surgery to remove one more growth. Running gave me an outlet that I thought I’d never know. But then yoga, over the years, has provided me with a mental cleansing and wherewithal that I can only say is spiritual and necessary.
Yoga has carried me. I hope you will find that discipline which carries you.
Angie DeRosa is a mother, wife and conference director who lives in Northville, Mich. She travels internationally and practices yoga anywhere she can: on planes, trains, in hotel rooms. She travels with yoga bands and yoga toes.