Parenting and Practicing Yoga / Remedies for an Unwilling Mind:by Desi Valentine

As part of the series : Parenting and Practicing Yoga

Desi: I’m a mother, corporate refugee, grad student, quiet activist and child care provider.  I live in Canada and write about grace, joy, hilarity, leg hair, living healthy, and learning with kids over at The Valentine 4: Living Each Day.

Remedies for an Unwilling Mind

I’ve been practicing yoga for about 17 years, now.  Not every day.  There has been the occasional month-long break (after which my body inevitably retaliates celebrates the return to practice).  I rarely do classes – preferring to sweat and fart in the privacy of my own home – but sometimes the group experience provides a depth of movement I can’t achieve on my own.

There is something magnificent about a group of people breathing and moving fluidly together, each of us present only to ourselves, but also bathed in the warmth of humanity….

Anyway, I injured my knee a few weeks ago, running hills in a state of numb pissed-off-ed-ness (OF COURSE, that’s a word!).  I know about the stages of grief, and I know about mourning and pain.  I know that it does pass and that time really does heal.  However, when you’re of the variety that can’t stop moving, it takes a wet rock on a gravel hill and a tendon that hasn’t been stretched in weeks to plant you back on your ass for a while.  I don’t like waiting for things to pass.  I prefer to move through them.

Occasionally with claws extended.

This past month, I’ve been at the gym three times a week to do low-impact cardio on the elliptical trainer and core building with the rowing machine.  I also do 800m or so of lane swimming once a week at the rec centre, while the hubs and the kiddos play in the wave pool.  And there is biking the kids to and from playschool twice a week, plus that never-sitting-down thing that comes with Life With Kids.  I’ve been moving a lot.

Primarily with claws extended.

Twice a week, my house is empty for a couple of hours.  That’s my dedicated yoga time.  I get out my mat and my favourite Vinyasa Flow DVD, and I work through sun salutations and body prayer and patiently attempt to retract my claws.  Success on that last point has been rare, lately.  This morning, I lay on my mat at the end of the practice as I always do.  Watching my breath.  Feeling each muscle let go in its own time.

Watching my breath.

Something released in my right shoulder.  Where my son rests his head and tells me he’s so tired.  Where my daughter lays first her hands and then her cheek to wish me goodnight.  Where my mum plants her chin when she hugs me goodbye and says “Always remember, don’t ever forget.  I love you.”

I lay on the mat while tears made my earlobes itchy and my chest ached and I shivered with the effectiveness of corpse pose.  Not angry, anymore.  Not sad.  No longer clenched tight with fear and fury.  My shoulder moved down my back as I stood.  And for a while, for today, I can say that I don’t hurt anymore.  Not in my knee or my head or my heart.  For today, I let it go.

Yeah.  It might be time to get into a class, again.

© Desi Valentine 2011.  All rights reserved.  Text and images are not to be reproduced or replicated without my written consent.  Contact me at desivalentine4 at gmail dot com