Yoga has also made me realize that a crow might have something affecting its flight, but its wings are always there. With some internal evaluation and an open heart, you can spread those wings and soar.From the time I was a little boy, I always had a close relationship with my father. I grew up with three brothers, all of whom were extremely close with my mother. I was the odd ball always at my dad’s side. It was always so much fun with my dad. We would race sailboats, fix things around the house and go on long drives along the lake, had fun lunches. Just fun times together. But, what I didn’t realize was that during these “fun times” is that my father was lying to my mother. My dad was an alcoholic. He would lose jobs because of his drinking problem, but wouldn’t tell my mom.
My dad is a lawyer and would have side jobs here and there. So, it was easy for a while to fool my mom. It was also easy for him to tell my mom he was taking me “to work” with him. He’d do a couple things work related, but we always ended up at a bar. What I witnessed as a child during these “fun times,” I never thought would impact my life the way that they did. I learned that on top of my father being an alcoholic, my father had also been unfaithful to my mom. It crushed me. Any bit of safety I felt in life was gone. Soon enough, my dad’s lies caught up to him and my mom decided to leave. She packed up her four kids and moved to Buffalo, New York, to be closer to her family. As a ten year old boy, I was devastated. There was no way I wanted to move, there was no way I wanted to be apart from my dad.
When we got to Buffalo, it was very hard. My three brothers all hated my dad and wanted nothing to do with him. But, I missed him so much and just craved a relationship. For a little while, my dad would come visit me, which I loved, but it started causing problems between my brothers and me. They would call me a traitor and say I loved dad more than my mom. I loved them both. I wanted them both the same.
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LIVE Music Vinyasa
Saturday, September 28th
8:00 AM – 9:15 AM
Vocalist and Pianist, Steve Stempien, will be accompanying our practice, on the morning of Saturday, September 28th, from 8:00 AM – 9:15 AM.
Come awaken your mind and spirit with this LIVE music treat.
A donation of $5 – $10 is suggested, for the musician’s time and contribution to our practice.
As time went on, I soon realized why my mom left. My dad’s drinking started impacting our lives even more now. He became spiteful because my mother moved us and felt like a good payback would be to stop paying child support. And then the visits stopped. He’d call me and say, “Hey Christo, I’m coming up tomorrow!” I’d get all excited and my mom would say, “ Chris Honey, he isn’t coming.” How angry I would get at her, but she was right. Hindsight really is 20/20, because I realize now that my dad was clipping my wings while my mother wanted me to fly. My father’s actions caused a lot of negative emotions in me. Anger, resentment, jealousy, solitude, and most of all fear. Fear that everything good would inevitably be taken away.
I started to close off in life. Scared to soar, because that meant risking losing everything. The saddest thing about it all is that I became so angry towards my mom, not realizing she was just trying to protect me. Because of my anger, my mom and I had grown apart, not ever getting to truly know one another.
As years went on, I experienced some traumatic events that kept me once again from wanting to spread my wings. At 12 years old, I fell in an unfortunate accident while playing on a playground and ruptured my kidney, which led to emergency surgery and as a result, I was no longer able to participate in sports. That was not an easy pill to swallow, when you grow up in a family of wrestlers and baseball players. More negative. Wings clipped again. The challenges in my life never seemed to stop. I had lost 3 friends by the time my senior year ended, witnessed a number of family members pass away, lost pets, and went through a divorce of my own. The funny thing is that during my divorce, there was a glimmer of light. My mom and I started to bond like never before. She saw I was the complete opposite of a father to my son that my father was to me. She saw how much I loved my son and cared for his well-being. That I didn’t want him to struggle or witness the things I did as a little boy. This had a huge impact on my mom. We became so close and had so much fun. It was truly amazing! I felt like a little boy again with her. We started to know one another. Who we truly were. What was in our hearts. I always knew my mom had a beautiful soul, but anger had clouded my judgement. But now, I was appreciating her, as she was me. I had been divorced now for 6 months. My mom helping every step of the way. She was my savior. Those 6 months I had with her will be forever ingrained in my heart.
We were at a family party, everyone laughing and having a blast. My mom came up to me to say goodnight, kissed me on the lips, gave me a hug and said “goodnight Sunny Boy.” That was the last time I got to see my mom. I received a call a little after 11:00pm and my stepdad said, “She’s gone Chris.” Having a grandmother in her 90‘s I said, “Who? Grandma?” And he said, “No Chris,” and I instantly knew my mom was gone. My mother passed away from a sudden heart attack. She was at the doctor a week prior and given a clean bill of health. My world truly fell apart. The negativity coming back, the good was taken away again. All of those terrible emotions coming back. Talk about wings being clipped. Little did I know, is that yoga and that crow with its wings were just around the corner.
For some time after my mom passed, life changed. I became like a zombie. I felt lost and lifeless, numb to everything. I never felt like doing anything, never felt like leaving the safety of the nest. Once again, scared to fly. Luckily for me, I met someone special 6 months after my mom passed away. She listened to my story without judgement and made me feel safe to tell her. It was beautiful. But, she also noticed my wounds still ran deep. Through many months of her being patient and dealing with my scars, she said to me, “Babe, you should come to yoga with me.“ I had goofed around with yoga since I was a teenager, but never had a real practice and never dreamed of entering a yoga studio. I had no idea how much life was about to change.
My “babe” always talked so highly of Marina and how much she loved her. From the moment I met Marina, I saw why. Marina and her awesome team helped me to really see yoga and its benefits for the first time. The emotional benefits, the lessons you learn, and the tools you take away. And although you learn to ground yourself, that you can also let go of your fears and learn to fly. This crow was starting to notice his wings again. After my first class, I walked into the back room, hugged my “babe” tight and thanked her. I was hooked. Someone showed me what I was seeking for so long.
It didn’t take long to realize how therapeutic yoga is and the incredible skills you learn from it, that help you to deal with any situation in life. I can go on and on about the benefits of yoga, but I feel everyone reading this knows them. Yoga, for me, has for the first time, given me direction and true passion in life. I’ve come to realize how much I want yoga in my life and to spread this beautiful practice into the lives of others. So much so, that someday I hope to own my own studio (with Marina making guest teaching appearances – lol ). It has also led me to be on the path towards completing a trauma-based yoga teacher training.
Today, I have a relationship with my father – he has been sober for about twenty years now and has been a good grandfather to my son. We never really address what happened in the past. And after the passing of my mother, my brothers and I have gotten very close. Death often puts a lot of things into perspective.
Yoga has brought clarity into my life. Has made me realize I internalized too much, rather than realizing people are all going through things and their own struggles. I notice I’m different in many ways from yoga. I realize how important perspective is and how much easier it is to remain calm in situations that use to trigger me. The practice has shown me how important my breath is and how powerful of a tool it is. In times when those negative emotions creep in I know I can breathe and ground myself easier. Quicker. And not let my brain go crazy. I still struggle with some issues in life, but have come to realize that these will slowly fade away, as I practice more and more self-care and self-love. The practice has also helped me achieve a belief in myself that I’ve never felt before. It has given me more strength and a voice on situations which would have terrified me before. And I feel my self-esteem grow everyday.
Yoga has also made me realize that a crow might have something affecting its flight, but its wings are always there. With some internal evaluation and an open heart, you can spread those wings and soar. If something is affecting the flight, it’s not about being “grounded and stuck,” but having the tools to ground yourself in tough times, get through them, and be able to soar sooner. It’s a beautiful thing.
I will never give up on my practice, because I now have found a calling. At 43 years old, I feel like I have finally discovered what my maker wants me to do with my life. Spread yoga.
What is this Pose About?
*If you have any medical concerns, talk with your doctor before practicing yoga.
This is a arm balancing pose. The resulting shape is a deep opening through the arms and upper back. Watch Christian enter into this asana from Mountain Pose (Tadasana). He will exit the pose and land back in Mountain Pose (Tadasana) as well.
Tips for Crow Pose (Bakasana)
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.
- Set your hands at shoulder-width distance apart
- Bend your elbows the same way you would in low plank (chaturanga)
- Take a deep bend to your knees and set your knees high on your upper arm bones, if not in your armpits
- Engage your core the whole time
- Squeeze skin to muscle to bone into your center line
- Look forward of your finger tips
- Shift your body’s weight forward
- Lift one foot off the ground to start
- Eventually both feet lift off the ground and you balance
- Once you have both feet off the ground, flex your feet, lift and spread all ten toes and begin lifting your heels up towards your buttocks
- Improves the strength of your overall upper body
- Tones your abdominal organs, which assists with indigestion and lower back pains
- The muscles of your forearms, wrists and fingers are given a proper stretch, which is great for carpal tunnel syndrome or the discomfort of long commutes in your car
- Do not practice Crow Pose if you have a recent or chronic wrist, shoulder, or back injury, or if you have carpal tunnel syndrome. Women who are pregnant should also avoid this pose. Enlist the help of an experienced instructor with Crow Poseif this is your first time trying it.
Enlist the help of an experienced instructor with Crow Pose if this is your first time trying it.
Have you tried this pose before? What has been your experience?