I am proud of how I have handled myself through many indignities with grace. I found a place where I am not alone in my struggles…I am humbled and honored to be writing my story. Even though I am excited to be student of the month, I am unsure about how to do this right now in my life. I feel like, in order for me to write my story, I shouldn’t be in transition while things are still uncomfortable and unresolved. I feel like I should be at my destination with some sort of happy ending. I am still very much in the thick of things and not sure when I’ll see my mountain top, however, maybe that is my story.
Up until I had my first child 22 years ago, I had exercised regularly and taken care of my health. After having my daughter, working full-time, and being a mom and a homemaker, taking care of myself was my last priority. Three years later, when my son was born, my mother was worried about me and she gave me permission (it was an order really) to take care of myself again. I have been practicing yoga ever since.
It was so strange that I had grown up with yoga – my parents practiced every morning, but I rejected it because my parents knew nothing, or so I thought. Yoga gave me back my identity when I found myself lost in all of my new responsibilities.
When I practiced yoga, it resonated with my need for physical release, brought me in touch with my breath and gave me a reprieve from daily stress. I felt spiritually uplifted and I began to experience a shift in myself finding my strength and my voice. I truly believe yoga prepared me for what was to come two decades later.
Initially, I started practicing yoga at a class in my friend’s pilates studio. When that teacher moved, I started taking classes at my gym, where I discovered Sam, who also taught at Mind Body Flow Yoga. I really loved the Baptiste style of yoga that she taught, so I decided to give Marina’s class a try.
Mind Body Flow Yoga was more than just a yoga studio. It was a spiritual sanctuary. I received love and positive energy in that room similar to a place of worship. No matter what the lesson of the day was, it resonated with me. It was as if, Marina was speaking directly to me. She gave me hope and clarity and pushed me out of my comfort zone.
About a year and a half ago, I was devastated by the sudden passing of my brother, at the age of 50, from a heart attack which was unexpected for someone we all believed to be healthy and carefree. His death rocked my world and my family’s world in ways I could not have foreseen. I didn’t have a chance to grieve before my marriage of 25 years began unraveling.
As a bizarre turn of events, my brother’s death was a catalyst for my husband quickly turning from an ally to an adversary. Because I chose to put myself and my family’s needs ahead of him and his family, I found myself waging war, without even realizing that could be possible by standing up for myself.
In a turn of events, I found myself being isolated from our finances in my husband’s attempts to control me into submission. As a reaction to this, I sought legal advice. My husband began to stalk me. I found a listening device planted under my bed. He had been recording my private conversations for months while I locked myself up in my bedroom. Living in this environment caused me to experience great distress. I could not sleep or eat, I weighed 108 pounds, I was unable to focus and my work was suffering. I moved out of my house a few months later. Unbeknownst to me, I had been given poor legal advice and later discovered that my attorney should have filed protections for me.
To make matters worse, right before Thanksgiving of 2018, I found out my job of 22 years was being terminated. I had been able to make the bold stance of ending my marriage with the confidence that no matter what happened, even with my husband taking financial control of our life savings, I would be able to take care of myself and my children because I had a good job.
I’m regaining my life. I have recently gone back to school. An opportunity that presented itself which I never would have considered if I were still working at my old job. I was in the process of transitioning my career since my children are grown and I was ready for something new. If I had lost my job before leaving my husband, I never would have had the courage to leave an unfulfilling marriage.
Unbelievable miracles have occurred for me every step of this journey. Yes, my brother died, but because of him, I found my voice to speak up for myself. My family and friends rallied with me to put a stop to the tyranny in my life. I have become connected with my community like never before. There has been a sense of justice in the midst of so many injustices. The universe has been speaking to me loud and clear about the path it expects me to take and I am listening.
MBFY has been a conduit where I have received much powerful advice on how to carry myself. I am proud of how I have handled myself through many indignities with grace. I found a place where I am not alone in my struggles – I am surrounded by people who are also hurting and healing and I know that our energies are healing one another. When I hear others stories it makes me feel like I am not alone. I am proud to be in the presence of so many strong, courageous people and be one of them.
I chose the pose of peaceful warrior because that is the state of the warrior series I find myself in right now. I was in warrior one for many years, posed in anticipation of the war to come. The past year and a half I have spent in warrior two, actively reacting to each onslaught to the best of my ability and handling what has been thrown at me with a strong, grounded stance.
I feel like I am in reverse warrior now because I am ready to surrender. In Marina’s words to, “let go.” I don’t need to fight anymore. I am accepting of whatever comes next and I have faith that I am exactly where I need to be. My heart is open to the challenges in my life, looking at each one as a new opportunity to make me stronger. I am ready for what is next.
What’s This Pose About?
*If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
This is a pose that stretches the side body. The resulting shape is a deep opening through the legs, hips, back, and abdomen muscles. Watch Nivedita enter into this asana from Mountain Pose (Tadasana). She will exit the pose and land back in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) as well.
Here are a few things to keep in mind, if you decide to try this pose, or if you have already started to experiment and play around with it.
- Peaceful warrior is transitioned into from Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II).
- Come into Warrior II to begin.
- While in Warrior II, you want to make a few adjustments to transition into Peaceful Warrior. Make sure your arms are in a straight line, then turn your front hand so that your palm is facing up. Keep your shoulders back and down. Keep your back knee loose but straight – in other words, you don’t want your knee joint to be locked or hyperextended. Keep your front knee bent as it is in Warrior II.
- Inhale as you bring your front arm up and back. You are extending your torso and arm as you lean back. Don’t bend too far, this pose is more about extending up and over than about bending. At the same time you are extending up, you are sliding the back hand down your back leg. Don’t push down on the leg, but let your fingertips gently rest on the leg. Use your abdomen muscles to hold your body in this pose. Engage your core. Keep your weight spread evenly across both of your feet. Hold this pose for 3-5 deep breaths.
- Slowly bring yourself back up to a neutral spine while exhaling. From here, you can go back into Warrior While in Warrior II, or cartwheel the arms to the ground and go into a vinyasa flow from there (high plank, to low plank, upward facing dog, to downward facing dog).
- Don’t forget about the other side. Step into Warrior II on the other side with the opposite leg in front and transition into Peaceful Warrior following the same instructions above.
- Improves back flexibility and back pain
- Strengthens your legs, feet and abdomen muscles
- Opens the hips
- Stretches the arms
- Lengthens and stretches the torso and spine
- Avoid this posture if you have neck or spinal injuries, shoulder injuries, or high or low blood pressure.
- Enlist the help of an experienced instructor with Peaceful Warrior Pose if this is your first time trying it.
Enlist the help of an experienced instructor with Peaceful Warrior Pose if this is your first time trying it.
Have you tried this pose before? What has been your experience?