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?
This series begins with Secret Passages, read that first to get the whole of my Jerusalem journey.
As we search for the entrance to the ramparts, the fortified walls that once protected the old city, we meet two workmen, enjoying a relaxing moment in the shade and a small cup of cold water. Before we can ask for directions thwy graciously insist we share their water, then, with the help of dramtic hand gestures, they direct us behind them through a small gate. The gate serves as the entrance to a schoolyard where two blue-eyed Israeli children giddily lead us to a part of the fence that can be easily hopped. As we jump over the fence they stare for a moment then run away giggling and squealing in rapid Hebrew.
Continue reading “Meditations in the Promised Land”
“She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear. She let go of the judgments. She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head. She let go of the committee of indecision within her. She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. She didn’t read a book on how to let go… She didn’t search the scriptures. She just let go. She let go of all of the memories that held her back. She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it. She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go. She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment. She didn’t call the prayer line. She didn’t utter one word. She just let go.
No one was around when it happened. There was no applause or congratulations. No one thanked her or praised her. No one noticed a thing. Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort. There was no struggle. It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be. A small smile came over her face. A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.”
Rev. Safire Rose