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?
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.
I've spent years perfecting my iTunes music library: sorting genres, combing through duplicates and bad versions of songs, tweaking album information, all for the appreciation of simplicity and the perfect playlist. I love to create delicately balanced playlists that flow together like a symphony, blending into one another as if they were meant to be heard one after the other, destined to be played in that order. A playlist is like a living organism: I am continually deleting and adding, as new songs come along that blend perfectly into the balance, a fresh tune, a shiny piece of lyrical art to brighten the whole sound.
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"There’s something about the cosmic perspective, which for some people is enlightening and for other people it’s terrifying. For those who are terrified by it, they’re here on earth and they have a certain self-identity, and then they learn that earth is tiny and we’re in this void of interplanetary space and then there’s a star that we call the Sun and that’s kind of average and there’s a hundred billion other stars in a galaxy. And our galaxy, the Milky Way, is one of 50 or 100 billion other galaxies in the universe. And with every step, every window that modern astrophysics has opened to our mind, the person who wants to feel like they’re the center of everything ends up shrinking. And for some people they might even find it depressing, I assert that if you were depressed after learning and being exposed to the perspective, you started your day with an unjustifiably large ego. You thought more highly of yourself than in fact the circumstances deserved.
So here’s what you do: You say, “I have no ego at all.” Let’s start that way. “I have no ego, no cause to puff myself up.” Now let’s learn about the cosmic perspective. Yeah, we’re on a planet that’s orbiting a star, and a star is an energy source and it’s giving us energy, and we’re feeling this energy, and life is enabled by this energy in this star. And by the way, there’s a hundred billion other stars that have other planets. There might be other life out there, could be like us. It’s probably not like us, but whatever it is, it’d be fascinating to find out who it is. Can we talk to them? Can we not? Are they more advanced? Are they less advanced? By the way, the atoms of our body are traceable to what stars do.
And all you can do is sit back and bask in your relevance to the cosmos.
So those who see the cosmic perspective as a depressing outlook, they really need to reassess how they think about the world. Because when I look up in the universe, I know I’m small, but I’m also big. I’m big because I’m connected to the universe and the universe is connected to me."