The Yoga Loft, San Francisco
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For the Love of Sacrifice
The other night I woke straight-up from a dream. A wave of relief flooded my body. Relief of the funny kind. The kind that comes when you finally get enough perspective on something to truly laugh at yourself. You laugh because…finally, you’re free.
In the dream, I am desperately trying to get to my teacher Sofia’s yoga class. But when I finally scramble my way out of my bathrobe and up the stairs to the shala, the door is firmly blocked. Blocked with all kinds of baby paraphernalia– stroller, boxes of diapers, stuffed animals, a pile. I try to move the items to the side, but nothing wants to budge. After so much work that I am sweating, I finally get my hand on the door. And in that very moment, I hear my baby crying. I must let go.
Awake, I finally understood why Sofia had forbid me to do backbends during the latter part of my pregnancy and the ‘fourth trimester’ of nursing. ‘The front surface of your body needs to be completely available for the baby,’ she said. ‘It needs to be soft, open, willing.‘ These words made sense to the intuitive regions of my brain-body, even if they weren’t what I wanted to hear. Because, still, part of me wanted to be that kind of yogi who is pregnant and backbending. If I am honest, there is always that part of me.
I remembered the way Sofia approached me as I practiced. She put her hands on my shoulders and said, ‘Thank you for sacrificing your body to incarnate another human being.‘ She said it over and over until I felt the sentiment in every cell of my body. Until there were tears on my cheeks. Thank you for sacrificing your body to incarnate another human-being. (Sacrifice : To surrender something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.)
Sometimes it takes a good while to understand profound things. Like great teachings, for example. They take time, years even, to sink through the body’s waters. The head does not help make sense of them; wisdom is a hard-won thing. My eventual A-haaaa: It’s not about getting what I want. It’s about giving what I have. And by way of tons of practice over years, I am thankful for the something that I have to give. Yoga, after all, is not about backbends. It about the invisible things.
So for now, I accept the blocked doors to the shala of my dreams. And, even better, I laugh at my great and desperate attempt to get in there! With great relief and celebration, I conclude this period of the ‘fourth trimester’ with the following offerings…all of which point toward invisibles.
Rolling, Releasing & Allowing: A Yogic Exploration with Jane & Anna
Pelvic Floor 101: Accessing the Center of the Body