To Let Go and to Heal

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I am a better person because of the practice of yoga. I’m a better mother, wife, teacher, sister, etc, etc. I have chosen to release the burden of feeling stress and anxiety over anything that I cannot control.

~ Lisa Carver

If you rearrange and delete a letter from the word “yoga”, you get the word “ago”. For me, the practice of yoga triggers memories from “ago”.

It often happens during hip openers but this day was different. This day, a tragic and numbing memory came flooding back to me during the pose Trikonasana. This memory never ever left me, it’s just that some days it wasn’t so close to the surface.

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Fast forward, to me coming back to the practice of yoga after a long absence. My dear friend, Christina, came to Mind Body Flow Yoga as a new teacher. To support her, I came to her classes and eventually purchased passes so that I could attend more regularly. I had always liked yoga and had practiced in the past but never really defined why I stopped.

One evening class, I was in the pose Trikonasana and I became frozen in time. I suddenly remembered the last time I had struck that pose.

It was in February of 2001. I was in a community class on some high school stage taking a yoga class. I was 9 months pregnant. I gently worked through the instructor’s excellent cueing and loved the restful feeling I left with.

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Four days later, the unfathomable happened.

I had lost our precious baby boy at 36 weeks due to a stillbirth. We later learned that our firstborn son had a heart defect that would’ve required surgery.

The pain and suffering a woman has with the loss of a child is Earth-shattering. I was truly the walking wounded.

As tragedies go, this is one of the worst that any woman can live through. Tangible things become constant reminders and dates are never the same. February 3rd of any year has an indelible mark for me.

I could not grieve in public because I am a teacher. Any person that has chosen the path of being a teacher knows what this means.

It means that when you return to work, to your fifth-grade class, you put on your “game face.” You smile, hug, and hold your head high.

The students look to you to set the mood. If I was sad, they’d be sad. If I was happy, they’d be happy. So I was strong and happy. But on the inside, I was crumbling like a sandcastle.

That is how it went until the following year when I again became pregnant with my son, who is now 18. I learned that suffering is fleeting. It’s what you make of it. It can be an obstacle for healing or a lesson to be learned from.

My lesson was that I was strong and determined, not to be broken by something I could not control. Instead, I was thankful for the opportunity to have that pregnancy, and to now be a support for women who lost a child as I did. Life is precious!

But that now, is in the past, too. It’s from that time known as “ago.” Now, the practice of yoga at Mind Body Flow Yoga represents healing, health, friendships, and strength.

I have lived through the passing of both of my parents, the day to day rigor of working and raising teenagers, and all else that life brings my way. I accept it without judgment and self-pity.

My time at the yoga studio, and now online, is for me. It’s a chance for me to cleanse out the bad, the sad, and to get rid of things I cannot change.

To let go and to heal.

Yoga is tantamount to life. The practice of yoga often is difficult in the first few minutes of class, joyful at times, only then to get challenging again.

This is analogous to the struggles of living. There are days that I try to make excuses for why I can’t go, but am always thankful that I did.

I am physically stronger, steeled mentally, and virtually uncrushable. I expected some of this to happen, as it does with most physically challenging activities. What I didn’t expect was the support and love that Mind Body Flow Yoga, under the direction and guidance of Marina, showers on all of its yogis.

The yoga community at MBFY is amazing and for the young, old(ish), man or woman. We are like a family. Even when we’re sweaty, exhausted, happy or depressed, worried, or transitional, we are whole together and stronger individually.

I am a better person because of the practice of yoga. I’m a better mother, wife, teacher, sister, etc, etc. I have chosen to release the burden of feeling stress and anxiety over anything that I cannot control.

During this time referred to as COVID, this attitude is essential for mind and body health. I will accept anything that comes my way because I know nothing is permanent and everything changes – the seasons, feelings, people, and even pandemics.

“This too shall pass,” my mother always said, and it’s true. This time, this devastation, and all of these uncertainties will pass. What we can control is staying active and connected through the practice of yoga. And what better place to do that but Mind Body Flow Yoga! Namaste!


What is this Pose About?

This is a grounded balancing pose. The resulting shape is a deep opening through the thighs, calves, and ankles. Watch Lisa 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.

Tips for Tree Pose (Vrikasana)

  • Stand in Tadasana. Shift your weight onto the left foot, keeping the left foot and twelve on a clock and the foot rooted firm into the floor.
  • Bend your right knee. Reach down with your right hand and draw your right foot up and place the sole of the foot against the inner left thigh; if possible, press the right heel into the inner left groin, toes pointing toward the floor.
  • Make sure your pelvis is neutral and that your hips are parallel with the front edge of your mat.
  • Lengthen your tailbone towards the floor. Firmly press the right sole of the foot against the inner thigh and resist the outer left leg.
  • Press your hands together in Anjali Mudra (hands together at heart center in prayer).
  • Gaze softly at a foxed point in front of you.
  • Hold for 3 – 5 breaths.
  • Come back to Mountain Pose (Tadasana).

Benefits

  • Strengthens thighs, calves, ankles and spine
  • Stretches the groins and inner thighs, chest and shoulders
  • Improves sense of balance
  • Relieves sciatica and reduces flat feet

Caution

  • Use caution with this pose if you have a headache, insomnia, low blood pressure, high blood pressure: Don’t raise arms overhead

Have you tried this pose before? What has been your experience?

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