Monday, March 14, 2011

"I Can't Breathe" And Other Yoga Affirmations

Glancing quickly around the room I knew I was doing it wrong. Trying to collect my thoughts and realizing "I am truly a dork", I caught the smirk from my 14 year old daughter. It was our first yoga class ever, and here she was already chuckling at me. I had to laugh too.

My legs were now in a pretzel and my hands, palm to palm, pressed together vertically, parallel to my nose . . . I felt like a poser . . . my newness like a beaming neon light. "Breathe in," the instructor said in a calming voice. "Breathe in a breath of victory, breathe deep down filling up your lungs like your heart is smiling."

Hmm. Breathe in victory? Can I do that?

My mind wandered while I gripped the mat with flat hands and raised my bum in the air like an upside down "V". Hey, V for Victory. That's right. Victory breathing. Am I breathing??? Then back down to a child's pose. Ahh much easier.

Victory thoughts . . . what victory memories do I have that I could breathe in? My mind traced back through the calendar to . . . oh yes. Holding my babies for the first time. Each one a victory. My first book . . . I remember flipping through the pages and realizing that was my name on the front cover. Breathe.

And now into a push up, then hold. And keep holding. Oh my gosh my arms are shaking like spaghetti. I can't hold this position. Oh my gosh! And then down. I can't breathe, I can't even catch my breath!

Victory breaths. And then I remember the day I thought about suicide. That was a dark day. I didn't. I chose life. HUGE victory. And the day I chose to quit drinking. White knuckling. Shaking but determined. Another huge victory. And the day I chose to try yoga even though I knew I would look ridiculous. With that, I breathed in a HUGE smile. Today is another great victory. I'm alive. I'm sober. And I'm doing yoga.

Sweeping my arms around like two big windmills into the prayer position in front of me . . .

Ya. I'm a beginner at yoga. But man, do I know victory.

(now if I could just get my legs out of this dang pretzel . . . : )