I am crying upside down. Tears collect over my lashes then spill along my forehead. I stick my tongue out to catch one. It’s force of habit.
It’s been a difficult couple of days. First, we lost the family dog to illness. Then, the next day, my little boy started school.
We drove though a storm. The sky flashed then shook with thunder. We yelled "car wash" when puddles splash onto the windows.
A friendly teacher, clutching a green polka dot umbrella met us in the drop off line and helped my boy out of the car. She walked him away from me and into his new classroom. He looked back, hesitated and gave a little wave. I faked an open-mouthed, beauty pageant smile and waved back. "Have the best day ever!" I yelled out the window. Then I burst into tears.
Now, I am standing in forward bend, stretching the crown of my head toward my feet. I wriggle my toes in the tears that have accumulated. I rise into Tadasana and finally my tongue can do its job. I keep my eyes shut because I worry someone is watching me weep. I hope two year olds have it right; if you keep your eyes closed no one can see you. Unfortunately, I think they can still hear me.
It feels good to be back in a yoga class. I anticipated this time to myself all summer. These four hours each morning while my boy is in pre-kindergarten, to workout and write or go for a walk. Now it is here and I have cried through the first two hours of it.
I focus on the breath and utilize the mantra I give my students when their minds chatter. "I am breathing in. I am breathing out" This helps. The tears subside and I settle into the Vinyasa.
I find my strength flowing and balancing. I am at peace, until the teacher sings "Okay, let's do some heart openers".
This will not be pretty. My sternum and ribcage expand and a lump grows in my throat. I raise myself into Wheel but can’t hold it.
I release onto my back and hug my knees to my chest. The tears come again and this time the droplets collect in my ears. I think of the family dog, her soft brown head in my hands as she passed. This thought leads me to every dog and person I have lost. My ears are full. “Breathe in. Breathe out”.
The sun shows itself then disappears behind a grey cloud, like moments. Some are a welcome relief on a hot day. Others bring loud storms that shake us. All of them are necessary.
Yoga invites us to be open to life. It asks you to embrace each situation with acceptance then grace. The practice is not always easy and coming to it during stressful times is doubly hard, but not as hard as crying upside down.