Sunday, May 15, 2016

On why I almost always cry after yoga class

I have been working on this poem in my head for a long time.  It's been a hard one to get down on paper, mostly because I DO almost always cry after yoga class, and because it's taken me a while to figure out the Why and the How To Say It and the How To Poem It.

If you know me, you probably know that I have migraines, and you probably know that they're pretty ridiculous lately.  Lately, in particular, they have made me struggle with being in my body, and my relationship with my body...mostly because I'm just kinda pissed about it.  Finding ways of being present with, behind, alongside, and around the migraine stuff is something I'm working with all the time, but particularly in yoga.  It's not easy.  It is helpful, when I can figure it out.  And it's not easy.

And, those pesky emotions we hold on to -- this speaks equally to them, doesn't it?  Pain is not, of course, only physical.  I think this speaks to both.  

On why I almost always cry after yoga class

Living in this body is like being held hostage in a place
I have been evicted from.
I know I'm not welcome
have nowhere else to go
cannot physically leave and yet this
is the place I call home.

Unyielding tyrant -
Pain sneaks tension into the tiny crevices.
Frustration, resentment,
hatred turn inward,
this body becomes
battle ground,
war zone,
unpredictable fun house mirror --
how do you feel at home here
when it feels the house
is crumbling?

But yoga reminds me there is no tyrant holding me in
this sealed envelope of a body.
Yoga breathes open the seal like
perennial forget-me-not blooming in my heart like
green growing forgiveness like
gentle opening of love letter from
long lost lover --
even in the most aching of places, saying:

Make room.
Breathe into the ache and pause
in the painful places. It is here
that the beautiful
shines through.
Unpack your bags.
Take off your coat.
This body was built for you
and your love--
it is big enough to hold the pain-
you are made of space
and stars, don't shrink,
take, hold, be, imagine --

And sweetheart,
holding breath is not the way to breathe.
Tensing muscles is not the way to stretch, and crumbling
is not always breaking but a way
of coming together with a space
for sunlight
does not take away the pain, it merely
makes holes for the sunlight
so breathe
and crumble
and let the sunshine through --
You can't hate your body and live fully inside it.
Can't resent your body and welcome yourself home.
Can't live in your body with your heart and not
explode from your chest with love, and sunlight--

Love, I am telling you:
soften around the pain.
It is not your captor,
you are not at war, this
is your body.
Your good body.
It is ever breathing you