by Kara-Leah Grant
I’ve had a rough few weeks, since moving into my new house with my three wonderful flatmates.
First I caught a 12 hour vomiting bug that saw me curled up on my sister-in-law’s bathroom for seven hours in child’s pose, just moving to lift my head and vomit.
Then I caught the flu and a nasty cough and was bed-ridden for over a week.
Just as I was beginning to feel well, almost two weeks after first getting sick, I woke up with red welts all over my body and swollen lips.
My best guess is hives, or some kind of food allergy. The botox lips stuck around for a day or two and gave my flatmates a good case of the giggles, and the itchy red marks faded within three days.
The upshot of all this illness – more than I can remember having in, like, forever! – it that my asana practice had been zilch. Even my daily meditation practice fell away as I struggled to get out of bed.
So no asana, hardly any meditation, pranayama or chanting… and I began to feel… lost.
Dare I even say it… slightly depressed.
Like what was the point of this life thing anyway?
Suddenly, the daily grind of being a single mum on the DPB with no social life felt heavy and leaden.
It totally surprised me – these thoughts and feelings. It’s been so long since I’ve experienced life like this I’d forgotten what it’s like. It’s bloody awful!
Two days ago I felt well enough to do an asana practice.
One of my flatmates joined me in front of our fire. I put on a playlist I used to use back in the days when I taught yoga… which feels like a lifetime ago now. And in the warmth of the fire and familiar tunes of that playlist, I coaxed my mind and body back into life.
About a third of the way into my practice, going through a lizard/lunge sequence that is heaven for my hips, I felt a surge of energy and aliveness that rippled from my toe tips to the crown of my head.
There I was!
I was back!
A huge wave of relief rolled through my heart and body as I realised that the lethargy and depression and general dull, lifeless feelings and thoughts I’d been having weren’t going to stick around.
That they weren’t me.
I was this – this life and this energy and this joy and this aliveness.
This was me.
And all those feelings and thoughts… all they were was a lack of yoga. A lack of tuning in to my breath and my body. As a result of my illnesses, I’d become disconnected.
Stepping back into my asana practice was like stepping back into life.
I was Alive again.
This is why I practice yoga – in all it’s aspects.
When I don’t… I retreat into my mind and I lose connection with life and everything becomes dull, colourless and lifeless – me included.
But when I move my body to music while paying attention to my breath, magic happens.
I come alive.
I feel alive.
And that life carries with it joy & happiness & love & delight & presence.
I know now that other people find this aliveness in other ways. Not everybody needs yoga. They’ve got surfing, or painting, or singing, or cooking, or climbing, or tai chi.
Me, I’ve got yoga and dancing, forever intertwined, breath with body with music.
What do you have? What brings you back to life when the world turns grey and listless?