I am not a seamstress…but I created it.
I am not a sadist…but I took comfort in the restriction of it.
This corset of mine has been in the making all my life and it holds everything. Lacing the shoe strings together heaves the most abundant parts of me forward for the world to see while forcing control over my entire core.
Lace by lace, it slithers up my spine sewing each secret of myself along with it. The tighter is gets, the more secure I feel as it creates a seductive barrier between my true self and the rest of the world.
I have custom built this one to perfection remotely aware of the exact beginning of its production. As a child growing up in a less than desirable neighborhood, I started branding behaviors of a constant and watchful eye over my shoulder and never trusting anyone until it was earned. String the lace through the top two eyelets.
As a teen, I strategized and implemented unauthorized vacations to escape from my parents constant fighting and the anger that stained the walls into my soul. Pull the two ends until they are even.
Step by step, I was slowing and unconsciously building the inner bones to the corset with sorrow I tasted on my tongue as a youth. Over time my experiences and relationships as an adult continued to secretly form the X pattern down my back and began a slow suffocation.
You can’t wear a corset to yoga class.
I have brought gnarled muscles and this imaginary corset built from baggage past to the mat. So have my students. “If I let go, I’ll fall.” I’ve heard this before as one leg was pressed like gorilla glue against the wall and the arms rocked like an earthquake in crane pose.
“And what if you don’t?” I respond. “Either fall or don’t, both are the same.” Then I lean in closer with a soft whisper, “but love yourself enough to try” and I walk away.
I’ve peered back to see some wonderful acts of strength that are transforming moments to witness. The beauty is, those moments were one in the same if they nosedived or if their arms withstood the test of a balancing posture. Because in that moment they realized, that what was born and morphed into restriction didn’t have to remain in restriction.
Regardless if they fell or not, they loved themselves enough to let go and try.
There are no regrets or shame in wearing my corset. But the barriers that held me then, don’t necessarily need to hold me now. In order to become undone, I had to first be laced. Acknowledging this process and its purpose alone is freeing.
The experiences I have had in my life aren’t meant to be erased, cried over or hung on to. They planted a little wisdom and have sewn my story.
What is truly amazing is after I became open to seeing what my corset was made from, I can now enjoy the dessert of my practice; the process of coming completely undone. If you have ever physically worn a corset, you are well aware there is no quick pull to release yourself from it.
It is a slow and mindful task to one by one unhook every string out of every eyelet.
Discovering the love of you and giving yourself time and permission to unfold is where the shift is born. This is where I became re-born.
The truth is, yoga brings me from restriction to connection and love. And as with any love affair, it would be quite a waste not to enjoy the entire process of unlacing each and every string.
I shifted my prospective to embrace every black thought and burned them as fuel. The pure and unadulterated thought of what lies underneath is meant to be embraced, imperfections and all.
If you love something, set it free…and this includes yourself.
This is the underlying philosophy of yoga. You can never truly live in freedom and love while being bound by the corset you have made for yourself.
So the only question that remains is, are you going to keep holding on or are you willing to embrace the beauty of coming undone?
Terri Hug is a yoga instructor, wellness junkie, antevasin, animal advocate, tattoo collector and boundary pusher. Her motto: why not? She’s a certified instructor currently pursuing the Integrative Yoga Therapist, 500hr level. She teaches hatha yoga classes to adults, chair yoga to senior citizens and offers her Ignite Within Meditation workshops. She’s a vegetarian, writer, music addict, dream builder and sporadically user of f-bomb awesome. Connect with her on Twitter at @hugwellness or Facebook or her website, hugwellness.com.
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Asst. Ed: Amy Cushing/Ed: Bryonie Wise