6/29/16 We are almost to the end of June and Mars goes direct tomorrow. Mar the planet that rules so much in my chart. This rajasic, active, blood red fiery planet will start to pick up momentum in the forward direction soon. Things have already started to. I am getting a lot of new referrals for work. I am being taken out of my state of reflection into that of activity. I am still in the in-between phase though, where both reflection and activity are gently cohabitating.
Last weekend Bill and I went to DC and attended a Rocket class that was advanced. It was full of inversions and hard stuff but that is not what has stayed with me. What has, is what happened the first three minutes of class. We congregated together in a small upstairs space of a building next to Whole Foods. The floor was well worn with large windows on one side and a beautiful brick wall on the other. A fireplace sat in the middle of the windowed wall.
Everyone was very cheerful and yang. The group was a competitive one, but outwardly and refreshingly so. It reflected a healthy group of smiles and muscles rather than a denying of sort type-group, which is always a bad thing. When you get the competitive ones together who are frowning because ‘it isn’t a competition’ then this is never good—energy needs to go somewhere and when not released can result in nastiness.
Anyway…the young teacher, Jonathan seemed to know yoga well even though he hasn’t been teaching that long, so I wondered if he had done this kind of thing in times past. (Another life perhaps?) That is what I was thinking this guy looks all regular and competitive but there is a refinement about him that gives pause that this yoga is imbedded in his bones.
He starts class by saying that he had to go to the doctors for a respiratory thing recently. The doctor asked him to breathe and he was stymied, naturally breathing ujiyah breath but then remembered that this was all wrong. He then started to deep breathe and this lead to inquiry, on his part of ‘how do I deep breathe’—he started to use his side muscles (intercostal) and then back muscles. He tells us this as he defined for us how long the lungs are. How they extend far up to the collarbones and then he points to below the rib area. He asked us to lie in savasana and had us breathe. For some reason, I started to access parts of my own lungs, parts not usually accessed as I lay there on the floor.
This breathing experience felt new and I started to awaken some of my own cells that have been dormant for some time. It is said that we ‘hold our issues in our tissues’ (and that grief resides in the lungs) and this rang true Sunday.
I awakened a memory of 9th grade. A time when it was discovered that I had scoliosis severe enough to warrant wearing a brace for 23 hours/day. The memory brought forth was of the first day that I had to wear this Milwaukee Brace to school, a constraining contraption especially around my neck area. I could barely turn my head. Could barely look away. I got to Spanish class at the beginning of my day and my teacher dramatically asked first thing, “Kristina, what happened?!”
All eyes turned to me and I felt my face get red. The embarrassment burned into my cheeks, as I stammered “well I have scoliosis and have to wear this brace….”he didn’t seem to get it, but did get that on his part this was a faus pax and he shouldn’t have asked, which made the awkwardness of the situation even worse.
Then my mind went further back to the day I was fitted for the brace. How the doctor who measured me was actually very good at his job. He had me learn all these exercises for my back that are yoga poses like bow and wheel which I seemed to be able to do well even back then.
But that is not where my memory was stuck, it was in the humiliation of me being in my underwear and my mom looking on as he measured me and told me that I could lose a few pounds around my waist nodding to my mother. This memory of being very angry and embarrassed floated up from my body/mind.
As I was sitting with this memory in yoga it was as much an observing than a re-experiencing. I started to think, I wasn’t fat and then to understand that some of my eating quirks started that day. My desire for thinness and periods of dieting. Periods of time when I would wear the brace for years afterwards up until college at night (even though I refused to wear it after a few months during the day) to constrain my belly and hips, corset-like to try to shrink my midsection.
The yoga teacher, a talisman of sorts with his prompting of this memory though the breath helped me unleash what was stuck in me. A trauma held that I was ready to let go of. I didn’t cry or feel any major emotion as I lay there, other than an inquisitive inquiry into my younger self that was victimized by this experience. One that I was able to leave on the mat that day.