The sunshine streams into the windows, and she can already feel the warmth of the room on her skin. She's been in this room over a hundred times. It reminds her every day to be who she is; to step out of the familiar and into the unknown. She presses her feet into her dark blue mat. She's been here too over a thousand times, but it's different. Each day brings her somewhere new, some place she's never been before, each day is a new day asking her how far she will go. How deeply will she dig and does she have the courage? Each time, she answers. The answer is always the same, but comes in different forms. As she steps her right foot forward, she stretches her left leg back, she reaches her hands to the ceiling and feels her chest lift and her heart expand. She closes her eyes and breathes. The breath is steady, strong and controlled. She draws her palms to her heart, creating even more space as she inhales. She takes her elbow across her knee and holds. Steady, steady. She feels her face heat up. She exhales digging more deeply. There's more space than there was the day before, week before, month before, year before. She twists. Holding steady, feeling the twist, she softens. She remembers. Being in the corner of a similar room, in a different city doing the exact same thing. It was the first time she slowed down long enough to feel the breath moving inside of her. As she twisted many years ago it was like extracting a huge boulder out of her belly. It was something that felt enormous. Now all she feels is space; raw, empty, vulnerable space. Releasing the pose, she drops both hands down placing them to the inside of the ankle. She begins to slowly come down onto her forearms. She can feel herself shake. The sweat now dripping from her forehead, she feels a hot tear streaming down her face. Her breath, no longer steady. This is the place, the place she fears. She softens further into the pose with an exhale and drops her hips lower as she slowly brings her knee to the floor to stop the shaking. This is the place she decides how deeply she will let go. She's been here before. She remembers it from the first class she ever took. The feeling of judgement, fear, doubt, guilt, shame all lifting as she crumbles to the floor, not being able to hold herself up she feels herself releasing, surrendering, screaming, crying, grieving. As the tears now pool onto her mat, she presses her palms down and lifts her chest. She feels her heart expand again on an inhale, more space. Tears continue to roll down her cheeks. She closes her eyes and can feel the sunlight penetrating her skin as it floods in through the window. She holds there, breathing. Her breath begins to slow down as she continues to pick herself up off the floor. Now standing, eyes closed, heart open, she spreads her fingers, arms are down by her side. With an inhale she sweeps her arms up and on an exhale she folds, with another exhale she folds even deeper. She continues to move to the sound of her breath, each one getting stronger and stronger. She feels her past melting off of her. The burden of perfectionism slides down her spine and into the mat as she folds further breath by breath. Sweeping her arms up she feels herself enlivened, moving from pose to pose, she pauses. With her arms stretched out she feels the world around her fade, the only thing she can feel, see, touch, taste is her own strength. Pressing down through her legs, she slows down taking her palms back to her heart she inhales and draws her elbow over her thigh, back leg steady, she moves in. The breath circulates through her body, and she feels it. Holding steady, she twists further on the exhale. Space. She feels more space as she twists. Releasing the pose she moves both hands to the inside of her ankle and begins to drop down onto the floor, even though she's alone she can hear the echoes of her teachers. "Let go, let go, let go, surrender, step into your light." Once again she feels herself soften, this time she embraces the floor. The tears coming from the depth of her soul, she begins to feel herself smile through the tears. It's a smile from the core of her. It's the smile of victory. Not the kind of victory we think of when we've won something, rather it's the smile of knowing... knowing that in the deepest, darkest moments we are given a choice. As she lifts her forehead from the floor, she presses her palms back into her mat. Lifting her chest, her heart now exposed, she chooses.... To love herself over and over, to forgive herself over and over and to embrace the light and the dark over and over, laughter and tears, surrender and freedom, the known and the unknown all for the decision of a lifetime... to live, not just be alive but to live. Embracing herself she chooses to step into her light, her tears, her laughter, her sorrows, her joys, her darkness, her pain, her empathy and the beautiful heart she knows is hers. Tomorrow, she will meet herself again, and the choice will be hers, every day is a day we have the decision of a lifetime, to simply be alive or to truly live.
Let's choose... to LIVE! :)