"There's something I am holding onto. It's deeply rooted. And I have no idea what it is."
That was me starting to explain why I struggle consistently in every yoga class I do.
I can feel it, whatever it is. Throughout the day. And for many years now. At least the past seven years. And it's presence is most potent in my yoga practice.
A forward bend... And I feel something blocking me. It runs from my stomach to hip flexors. Everything is stiff, and a feeling of "I have to vomit. I can't breathe," comes over me.
"Has your yoga practice always been like that?" someone asked me after class.
"No," I said. "It started just before I went to training, when I was doing my first 101-day challenge seven years ago. As I got deeper into the challenge, I was able to do all of the postures... Really well. But every time I did a forward bend, I would start to feel sick."
"After I got back from teacher training, it got worse."
They were baffled. They were a teacher themselves.
Maybe if I start practicing at home it will help me process it? I wondered. I wouldn't be afraid of actually vomiting. And I could freely push myself in poses without being concerned a bout disrupting the energy of others' practice.
That's the one thing that I have become very conscious about when I practice in a studio... The energy of others around me, and how I impact it... Both as a student and a teacher. I have hyper awareness in class. I feel everything.
Which made the need for building out a space to practice in when here in on the West Coast became more important.
I want to work through whatever this is, and push harder to purge it.
So yesterday, I had my first practice in my new space. I'd kept the AC off in my house all day. I plugged in three space heaters, and set the as high as they would go - which isn't very high. I brought in a bluetooth speaker, and loaded up a series of icaros (Shamanic medicine songs).
I began my practice.
I could feel myself going more deeply than I have lately in the first back bend of the spine warm-up. And as soon as I bent forward, right after, into Hand to Feet pose, I could feel it.
I had trouble breathing and had to pull out for a few seconds. But determined to progress in the pose, even with the vomit feeling coming over me. I pulled out again. Did my second set... And progressed through the rest of the series.
Sweat was sliding down my body. But not as much as being in class. Still a nice sweat, I thought.
Every forward bend I pushed myself, feeling my organs inside me... Pushing back on me.
"Hello! I'm here," they said to me.
I would pull back and breathe into them.
Then came the floor series... Forcing myself to kick my legs higher in floor Bow pose.
"Fuck it," I said, as my legs started to go wider than my hips. I wanted to see sow high I could kick them while out of alignment.
Just for a few seconds.
Then I pulled them back into alignment. But I was able to roll forward while kicking, and let the floor massage those same organs that were screaming from the attention I was giving them.
I had to lay for a few minutes before progressing into the last series of postures.
It took me 75 minutes to finish the series. Afterwards, I felt spacey (also known as "yoga stoned") and wanted to plant myself in a hot bath filled with salted water.
I wanted to immediately rinse what I pulled out in the practice.
While I lay soaking in the tub, I thought about how long I had been dealing with this.
"It was 2010," I noted. "When it really kicked in. That was a Year One."
I was surprised my mind brought up numerology. Where did that come from?
"Well," it said. "New nine-year cycle. You began working on this purge."
Now I am in a Year Eight, working towards the Year Nine at my next birthday. That's a year of ending a cycle.
"Maybe this will all pass over the next year and a half?"
If you work on purging it. Prioritize your practice. Prioritize the immediate recouping afterwards. Don't push yourself, and then focus on the energy of others right away. You need processing time.
Otherwise, you're opening yourself up... And then letting new stuff come in that isn't helpful.
Ah. I got it.
Knowing that next year will bring on some aggressive purges.