"I'm really struggling today." ~ "You can go into child's pose."
I didn’t know it walking into hot yoga at Lumi Power Yoga Hammersmith yesterday, but I desperately needed the lesson teacher Katie and her assistant Christina taught me. It was one of the most intense classes I have been to in my many years of practicing yoga, but also one of the most meaningful. (In all honesty, most all classes are meaningful to me, but this one had that extra special punch to it.)
The theme seemed to be about letting go…. “Let go of your morning. Let go of your week. Let go,” were the words Katie used to guide us in the beginning.
I don’t know why, but I struggled. My breathing was short (I wasn’t breathing with the flows and poses), I couldn’t focus, I struggled with poses, but yet I kept pushing myself to keep up (which was the worst thing to do). Words of “letting go” continued to be used but I clearly wasn’t listening. I just kept pushing myself. I started to feel nauseous and I felt like crying.
Christina came over to my mat to help me through the flows and with my breathing. She was amazing and so compassionate. But at one point I said to her, “I’m really struggling today.” This turned out to be incredibly important because her words back to me were, “You can go into child’s pose.”
So down I went and it took everything in me to not burst into tears. I was feeling weak and like a failure.
The significance of child’s pose is rest. Rest, breathing and taking care of yourself. You don’t have to keep up with the crowd, you don’t have to worry about the outside world, you don’t have to do anything but focus on your breath and calming your mind. This was exactly what I needed and after a few minutes, I felt like I was ready again, so I popped up and tried getting in the groove again.
This was another mistake. Things were almost worse this time around. Christina again came to my side to help. I kept trying. But this time I said to her, “I feel nauseous.” Her words back, “This is your practice and you can go into child’s pose for as long as you want.”
Down I went again but this time felt I surrendered more to the fact that I just needed to rest and to stop pushing myself. That I really needed to take care of myself. I still was on the verge of tears. And bless Christina, she stayed with me, even giving me a backrub. I also had no idea how much I needed to be taken care of by someone else until this happened! I am so grateful for this and for her intuition. Thank you Christina.
Toward the end of class with the restorative poses, I could get back into it. One of the poses we did in this stage is “Supta Baddha Konasana" which opens up your hips. As Jen says, it’s important to open up your hips because it’s where we store a lot of emotional baggage. Poses like Supta Baddha Konasana help release those emotional toxins and should be done gently. This part of class was so much better and I was finally relaxed. I finally got the lesson.
It can be so difficult to remember these important bits of life, especially in the chaos of our lives. But these are what were drilled into me as a result of the class:
You don’t have to push yourself and “keep up” with the crowd
Ask for help
Take care of yourself
You can let others take care of you too
One other amazing thing about the class ~ When walking out another yogi said to me, “That was so great wasn’t it?” I told her that yes, I totally needed this class. She then said, “I almost started crying in the class!” And I told her I did too. Reminding me that…
We’re all in this together!
These past few months have been incredibly challenging and have pushed me to the edge in a lot of ways… Just life things like we all go through. This, on top of what I believe are the last days on this earth for my precious 18-year-old dog Gator have brought on super intense emotions. But thanks to this special class I’m going to remember the words and the gentle, compassionate response provided: