September 21, 2013

Dear Yoga: There Are Some Things I’d Like To Say To You.

Dear Yoga,

There are some things I’d like to say to you.

I know we haven’t been together much lately thanks to the two grossly herniated discs in my lower spine. It was agonizing leaving you behind in order to have surgery and to heal. I missed you every day.

During my convalescence, I had a great deal of time to think about things, one of which, obviously, was how I hurt myself in the first place. I want to be clear—I do not blame you.

I blame myself.

I don’t know which exact pose made my spine explode like a refrigerated can of Pillsbury biscuits when you first open it, but I have a fairly good idea. I’m thinking tittbhasana (firefly). The truth is, when I did that pose on the day in question, I knew I was in over my head. Not because of the pose itself, but because I had someone take a picture of me doing the pose, which I have come to believe can be counter to the idea of yoga in the first place.

I was showing off—that’s not yoga.

Had I been photographed in a truly yogic state of mind, I never would’ve gotten hurt. Maybe the picture would’ve been better too. Or worse. Who cares?

I’ve learned an important lesson. As much as I try to put my ego aside, I’ve got a lot more work to do in that department. That’s okay—as long as I acknowledge it and try to move in the right direction.

Thank you for giving me an opportunity to learn yet another lesson.

There have been so many.

You have taught me that magic is real. I’ve seen first hand the alchemy that arises from the simple repetition of yoga poses. Merely coming to my mat time and time again and moving my body in the ways you have showed me has created a connection between my heart and my mind. This connection has opened them both up wide.

Where once they were isolated, dysfunctional, and unwell, they are now able to accept and invite love and joy. What is more magical than a world perceived through a loving heart and a compassionate mind?

Even now, in this simple moment, I gaze out the window and see the sun igniting the oak leaves and it fills me with happiness. Before you, I wouldn’t even have noticed that tree.

You have taught me I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. I mean this in every way; physically, mentally and spiritually. With you, I’ve done things I never could have imagined I’d do. I never thought I’d do a headstand, or lead a class of other people working on doing headstands. I never thought I would become someone who feels love, who feels loved, every single day.

And I most certainly never thought I would believe that our souls are infinite and that all things are one, that death does not exist, and that gratitude is the key to happiness.

You have taught me that growth happens when you’re a little bit uncomfortable and you’ve given me routine chances to feel that discomfort and move beyond it.

From you, I’ve learned to be a teacher and a student simultaneously and all the time. That we are all, every one of us, just “walking each other home” and sometimes we are leading and sometimes we are following.

This week, I was able to meet with you briefly again. I was scared, so scared to see you. Would we even recognize each other? After all, it’s been three full months since we parted ways. I felt like I was having lunch with an old lover I hadn’t seen in years.

Would you hurt me unintentionally again?

Just the opposite—you were gentle. You were understanding. It felt like we had never split up at all. We slipped back into our routine seamlessly, and afterwards I felt the same glow I always do. My body was sore for a few days, but it felt strong and healthy.

A miracle.

And I know my talented doctor had something to do with that too, but without you, I wouldn’t have had the resources to finish what he started and begin to heal myself.

I need you to know these things, to feel the immeasurable gratitude I have for you pouring forth. I promise to work hard and to not work hard, whichever is required at the appropriate time, to continue to grow.

Again, thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

With abiding love,


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Ed: Bryonie Wise

Photo: via Kristin on Pinterest


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