I spent the last 5 days learning about this mystifying part of the body with 30 other women.
First, we cleared the air by sharing the history of our pelvises:
A room full of abortions, miscarriages, infertility issues, prolonged labors, sexual abuse, mistreatment by doctors, prolapses, bowel and urinary issues. This relatively small part of our body held a great amount of collective trauma. Tears shed and hugs were given.
Then we started, as we always start yoga: with the breath. Another woman watched my breath move through my body: reversed breathing. Years of anxiety have changed the way I breathe. Unconsciously, I pull in my stomach on the inhale and relax the stomach on the exhale. Halting the very necessary flow of breath into the pelvis.
I broke down. Tears flowed for the second time. How could I, the yoga teacher that always asks my students to soften their bellies, encourages self-compassion, breaths softly with my preschoolers when they are crying or panicking, and teaches big belly breaths all the time… how could I be still be reverse breathing after all these years?
My wounds are much deeper and more complex than I ever thought. They have sneakily nestled into my body as habitual patterns hidden in my pelvis and breath. The pelvic floor must move with the breathing diaphragm, rising and falling in beautiful synchronicity to massage the internal organs, activate the parasympathetic nervous system, and so much more.
Breathe. Deep, slow inhales. Even longer exhales.
If at any moment you are unsure of how you feel, maybe you’re overwhelmed or sad or angry, or feel as though something is off, check your breath. It acts as the canary in a the coal mine, the first indication that there is a dysfunction in the bodymind. Pause. Take your left hand to your heart, right hand to your low belly. Slow breath in. Feel the low belly rise, then the low ribs, then the chest. Deflate the low belly, low ribs, chest. Repeat 5 more times.
How do you feel? You don’t have to name the sensations, but hold that feeling in your mind as a reminder. And repeat at any moment, any time, any place.
What’s your pelvis’ story?
How do you breathe?
Being single after a serious long-term relationship is like slowly peeling off your winter coat. You’ve pulled it snugly around your frame for months (years, really), hugging it tightly as a daily reminder of protection and security; clutching it vigorously during the worst of storms; shedding it gently in heated homes as you’re greeted with warm tea only to return it to your shoulders a few hours later just as secure and comforted as before.
Then softly, subtly, the scent in the air changes and the weather with it. You slowly roll up your sleeves and unnerved, begin to slink shoulders out into the unforgiving light. Continue reading “the breath of solitude”
life has a strange way of circling you around where you’re meant to be. taking you through the scenic route, through awkward paths and side roads; hovering around the ultimate destination until finally it’s settles. leaving you with all these lessons, wisdom, & gentle understandings you wouldn’t possess without having taken the scenic route.
Our nature is to learn, grow, expand. To search endlessly for people, experiences, things that help us achieve that growth. Our subconscious natures lead us to these moments of potential growth for the very purpose of peeling back layers, chiseling at the hard marble-like exterior of our identities, erasing the lines we’ve drawn around ourselves, exposing our very centers. From this naked space, we learn, grow, expand.
I let the excess fall away from my form and blank space fill up the pages. I like the opportunity it provides. The freeing notion that despite the lines I make and the curves I etch, gentle gnawings of growth will always return the pages to their natural, naked state.
Opening the heart. This old cell of a chest cavity.
It’s not a breaking or shattering but an invigorating cracking.
Breathing into the spaces that used to hurt, ache with heaviness & unwanted space.
Sipping more air, expanding with breath, sighing, sinking, digging deeper.
Opening doorways. Creating more spaces.
Cracking open with purpose, intention.
Making space for new, fresh growth.
It’s a speckled kind of warmth, this growing process.
Like sunshined flowers beaming from my pores.
She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world.
– Kate Chopin, The Awakening
I remember that feeling well. Securing the heavy cloth of “normalcy” on my shoulders as I left for my administrative job, a drooping heaviness, slowly gathering weight throughout the day. My heart ached with strained discontentment. I felt like a fraud. A failure. Incapable of fulfilling ideals of where and who I should be, ought to be, by age 25.
I had forgotten what I loved and craved, the hobbies and passions I possessed. I forgot how to flow with life, with my nature, with my strengths. Continue reading “The Launch”