I have spent the past 10 years doing yoga and embraced my place in the labor industry as penance for not being better, stronger, more capable, more brilliant - the pain in my belly and thighs, my shoulders and my spine as lashes on my physical body to punish spirit for all the things it could not make my body do, its lack of control on the physical plane. For my feelings of helplessness and powerlessness that I have carried since a small child growing up in dangerous and unhealthy circumstances. For all of the times I could not speak up for myself. Because I deserved the pain. Because it was the only time I could feel anything.
Of course I didn't want to share any of this with anyone.
Watching one of my best friends sinking into Half Pigeon yesterday during dialogue practice, something changed. Looking at her body, and talking about the discomfort triggered inside of the hip, feeling my own experience inside of someone else's body - I realized that it was gift being given. That moving the body into places where it feels a lot, whether Half Pigeon or Chair Pose - is an act of love. Is a cry for freedom from the constraints of our daily lives, of joints from flesh. That breath IS the language with which we comfort and communicate importance to the body, since the words we think inside of our thoughts have little to offer to this conversation, the most important conversation we will ever have. The freedom and power of allowing the body a safe haven to feel, to grow, to explore its boundaries is something that society and the education system rob us of on a daily basis - and every single person in the room with me is committing an act of revolution.
I understood what it means to pray for the first time yesterday. How a yoga practice can be so much more than a battle. It's a song. Its a story that we are constantly rewriting, and for once I get to be the hero, instead of the villain.
I see my place, finally. I'm a Liberator leading bodies (safely) to war against the accepted, the expected, the required. My task is to empower our fullest expression as an act of love, which is inextricable from the nature of revolution, whose ideal battle ground is the field of consciousness.
Last night's class, there was no nervousness. My dialogue is strong because I know why I walk into the studio. I know what story I want to tell, even if it is told through the tone of my voice and the touch of my fingertips. That bodies may hear what minds cannot, and that bodies respond because I am giving them a stage on which to sing their own songs, and a captive audience to let them know they are being heard.
"The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain."