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?
It may seem like an ill-placed intention to go out of my way to relax and find solace in Brooklyn for a mere 24 hours. But when it's done the right way, with no stressed goals of places to go and people to see, it leaves time wide open and free for wherever that sly north wind blows this unbound soul...
Here's my advice...
Continue reading "Unwinding in Brooklyn"
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"
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.
As a child I daydreamed about living in the endless woods behind my house. The notion of living with the land and creatures, to be enveloped in the greatness of Mother Earth, gripped me and sparked my imagination.
My family instilled these values in me and I was lucky to spent many weekends camping, fishing, and canoeing with my family. Highlights of my childhood consisted of: watching my father build fires, return the smaller fish back into the river, and teach me how to canoe; my mother, a petite and powerful woman showing me how to pitch a tent and gently appreciate all creatures from bull frogs and salamanders to deer and foxes; convincing my step-dad to help me build a teepee in the flush forest behind my house, where well-worn Mexican blankets covered the small circular dirt floor and just outside of the teepee entrance I carefully shaped old bricks into a makeshift fireplace.
Continue reading "Playful Adventures"
It's been a month since I returned home from a year in Thailand. My homecoming was emotional, full of reunions, shocks of cultural differences
, and the foreign sensation of stability that only "home" can provide. I spent the first few weeks continuing my adventure by exchanging my 70 liter backpack for my lavender duffel bag, plane tickets for the Greyhound, and a constant companion for traveling solo. My fears of coming home
to stagnation were most certainly cured by days filled with traveling, visiting loved ones, celebrating graduations, or the overwhelming task of unpacking. However, I soon began to notice a pattern in my swarm of activities: they were non-stop. Continue reading "Heart Shine"