This morning, Les Leventhal, one of my favorite yoga teachers, was in Sydney putting on a workshop. His classes always seem to provoke some kind of insight or deep, intense feelings in me. Last time I practiced with him in Bali, I had this sense of shedding the external layers of who I am to get to my inner being, throughout the progressively more challenging sequence he taught [link to post]. Today his workshop reveled an intense sadness, loneliness and the desire to be held and taken care of. Not such a nice insight as last time but a very important one nonetheless. I woke up this morning feeling this way (without actually knowing it until later). I was a bit off, kind of cranky, tired, snapping at my friend and generally irritable. In my better moments, I recognize these symptoms as covering up some deeper feelings that I generally am hoping to avoid (in this care loneliness). During such lucid times, I find it is the accessing and feeling of the uncomfortable emotions that helps to heal them. At any rate, today was not one of those lucid days...
Within 20 minutes of his class, and after much stubbornness on my part to actually drop into what we were doing...we were in side angle pose, arms in gomukhasana (fingers interlaced behind the back) and trying to touch the bottom elbow to the thigh. If that sounds confusing, trust me it was. I started crying. Even more confusing...
A little later we flowed through some arm balances, koundinyasana.
Always struggling with this pose, I was shocked when I tried it (with a bit of a negative, "I suck" attitude of course) and was then able to float my leg and nose off the floor for a nano second. Laughter. Then, exhausted, I dropped to child's pose, feeling at once saddened again as tears flowed down my face. Not the look you're going for in a yoga class on a Saturday morning with 100 other Sydney-siders and a friend next to you...
In full reveal mode, I recently ended a very long term relationship, which, of course, has brought up a lot of serious emotions. Loneliness being a very profound one. In child's pose, I felt the needs and desires of a child (literally)... to be held, to be nurtured, to snuggle with someone and be hugged. Not so long after realizing these feelings and that they were most likely the cause of my general crankiness this am, one of Les's assistants came over and gave me the most loving adjustment. She pressed my hips down to my heels with so much care and so much presence, I was overwhelmed, She was fully there, in that moment, with me, holding the space for me to be as I was, a cranky, crying mess, nothing else.
Throughout the rest of the class, I alternated between tears, moments of freedom, followed by more tears. Luckily, none of the other students seemed to notice. However, this one assistant must have because she continued to give me physical assists. She gentle drew the line of my spine while in forward fold to encourage me deeper, she centered my hips in the splits with the most divine touch and in alignment with my breath, she pressed my sacrum in pigeon, it was all just what I needed and wanted!
When savasana finally arrived, I laid down, headband over my eyes as an eye pillow of sorts and the tears came and came. I was doing that embarrassing thing where my body shakes and I make a very unattractive face, crinkled up in that "I'm just about to burst into loud and uncontrollable tears" kind of way.
Then, I felt these hands, as if from an angel (I know cheesy, but sometimes the English language is so limited to explain how certain unexplainable things feel), come over and lift my head off the floor, with the absolute care, as if my head were that of a baby's. She drew my neck out long, massaged my scalp, laid my head back down and pressed into my third eye point with her thumbs, then drew a line to my temples and left me with a long breath out. In that moment, she must have known, I needed to be held. I needed to be loved and taken care of and she provided that for me. I have no idea what her name was, or even which assistant she was (there were 2) because like a spirit guide, she seemed to appear out of nowhere and disappear to the same place she came from.
I want to say thank you.
Thank you for reading my energy in your profoundly wise way and giving me what I so badly needed. Most days I must give off a "don't you dare touch me" vibe, because I'm always the one who never gets any adjustments even from the most touchy-feely of teachers. Well, today was different and I am so indebted to you. I only hope that I can pass on that love and care to others in the way you gave it to me today.