I wake up at 4 am with a nightmare—no wonder, as I’ve heard that the second series of Ashtanga yoga begins to remove all of the internal debris.
The nightmare is horrible. Old fears become the face of loved ones, anger, betrayal and the Pandora Box I fight so hard to keep tight inside the basement of my unconscious mind is finding a way to break open.
I go to pee in the darkness and when I crawl back into bed, wishing for the night to finish, I go back to my nightmare.
Unbelievable! I suffer for the next hour or so until my alarm clock finally wakes me up.
I get ready and run to the shala. The day doesn’t help; gray and cold. I miss the sunshine back in my country. My body hurts, no wonder; but my heart hurts more.
Pent-up emotions start coming to the surface and I try to embrace the shakiness of it all. I get an instant certainty that there is no real chance of true love in this plane.
Love without attachment or fear, I mean.
Impermanence comes to me like a merciless rock that hits me right in the head as I start my descent into uncharted yet known territory. I want to cry and the same time hit something.
Physically, my breath becomes very shallow. I get a need to run away from this place, from all of these people in their yogic trip. Mentally, every thought has a texture, a voice, an echo.
“You can’t trust anyone! Love is a myth! Stop fooling yourself!”
Self-flagelation like instant coffee; self- mutilation before breakfast.
In that precise moment, my teacher enters into the room. My awareness gets bright. Beyond the feelings of deep sadness, anger and complaints; my body gets ready to pour itself into this practice.
The trick is to let it do it. It’s not hard, thank God, after several years of constant practice.
I surrender the reins to my body and it responds when I need it the most.
Suddenly, I become like a plane pilot who can rely on the automatic control and I lay back, relaxing in my seat. I start breathing, my teacher’s counts guide me and soothe my mind.
After almost two hours, this practice of yoga has again saved me from myself.
My refuge, my medicine.
I just need the discernment to get myself to the mat; I know these episodes of plunging into the darkness will keep coming my way. Gray days, crazy hormones, life´s curves.
Once again, I am saved by my practice and my teacher. I know this miracle will keep unfolding, hopefully, for the rest of my life.
I just need trust and faith—lots of trust and faith.
Mariela Cruz is a devoted ashtangini and happy mother of seven. Her teachers Guruji, Sharath and Saraswati, inspire her every day of her life. Ashtanga Yoga has given her life back to her, after unsuccessfully pursuing a law degree and striving to be a “good” lawyer. She is very grateful for the gift of yoga in her life. She feels honored to represent her teachers in Costa Rica, loves to play the piano and her 6 month old Aussi, Luna.
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Assistant Ed: Christa Angelo/Ed: Bryonie Wise