Monday, May 13, 2013

From Inside the Center

I began to write this post ages ago and then read a post from one of my favorite yoga writers. It's really the essence of everything I wanted to say in a single line:

And a constant feeling of being broken open from inside the center of the chest, to everything. Everything.  -Inside Owl

Flat on my back, eyes closed, I'm summoning the courage to move my hands into position. Then, moving my feet in towards my sits bones, I pause again, playing into the nattering around the edges of something when that something needs to be done but the will isn't there.

Now I'm thinking about why I am pausing, what is holding me back from lifting, arching my back, leaning into my outstretched arms, moving into full Urdva Dhanurasana (Wheel pose).

Now I'm thinking about how this thinking is really an excuse to pause more.

Finally I push up, fearful, and feel the familiar pull of too much scar tissue, the shakiness in shoulders and legs, the arch of an unseasoned back. I push forward onto my hands and breathe through five inhalations and exhalations. Sometimes my teacher comes to brace my shoulders and pull me deeper into the pose. By tradition, I'm in it for two more and by the end I'm lying on the mat, nearly in tears.

I've been spending a lot of time wondering why I am so scared of the Wheel. Different theories, mostly about my physical nature, abound:  I don't trust my own strength; I fear that my arms will fail and I will fall on my head; I know the feeling of the scar tissue stretching freaks me out.

But in the great-grand scheme of things, this asana is an exposition on fragility, of evolving, of pushing out, of trusting oneself, of asking others for support and of finding the opening that leads you forward. It is opening your heart, being vulnerable. It is flexing your spine that has grown rigid and static. It's brilliant and scary. As I do it more, it doesn't necessarily get easier. In fact, it seems to get harder, in many ways, to hurdle the fear and push into it anyway.

But I breathe and go, breathe and go, breathe and go and then let myself take it in, this feeling of discomfort and fear that so clearly mirrors the interior of my mind.

To everything. Everything.

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