Some of you may know that I am currently on Yoga Teacher Training retreat in Koh Samui with my teacher Tiffany Cruikshank. The module we're studying is Meditation and Yin Yoga. I chose this module specifically because I am fascinated about the affects of meditation and want to learn all I can about it to translate this into becoming an amazing teacher for my students. Little did I know that this would be a game changer for me.
Some of you maybe also know that I suffer from two autoimmune illnesses and have been struggling with Graves disease and all its shitty manifestations for a while now. The idea of choosing this module for training was to not only help my students but really, to help me learn how to heal. I've researched the crap out of Graves disease and although I know I have to work seriously hard on getting my gut back into the best shape ever, I honestly and truly believe that its my mind that will be the medicine.
We've been studying the latest research and methods of meditation and Yin Yoga and putting them into practice each morning and afternoon and today, I had the most profound experience I have had in my meditation practice and I have been practising for 8 years. As Tiffany guided us through our evening Yin class focusing on the metal element, that ability to let go of control and order, to let go of protecting ourselves and others and to be supported: we held asanas that targeted our Lung and Large Intestine meridians ( thats a whole other blog post coming). These asanas focused on opening up our chest and pectoral muscles and also back of our lungs and arms, When we finished Savasnana, we ended with our usual 30 minute meditation.
Woah- if only I knew what was about to hit me. We began a visualisation of letting go of what was weighing us down. I instantly knew what I had to let shift. The past 2 years ( well lets be honest here) the past 7 years in my life have been somewhat intense to say the least. After the death of my dad suddenly from a stroke in 2008, my health rapidly deteriorated. Not that you would know it. On the outside, I looked perfectly healthy. About the right weight, I'm happy, all my bloods are normal - everything said I should be healthy. Since then I have struggled each day,I've pushed through, like we're taught to do, i've manned up and battled through anxiety, panic attacks, depression, chronic fatigue and pain, but most of all, I battled the feeling of complete detachment from my body. There have been brief moments within those months of feeling more like me, when the light shone into my world, but its been a challenge. Not only for me but for my beautiful and devoted husband, Mike , who has carried me through this struggle. During 2011, I began to feel a shift again, And then in later 2014 I was diagnosed with Graves disease ( after two traumatic events as a park ranger at Kings Canyon) and my world and health cam crashing down again.
Fast forward now to this mediation this evening and this shitload of crap - this overwhelming sense of failure, grief, heaviness and sadness would not shift. it just wouldn't go. It resisted and pushed back. I kept going, i kept giving it the space to release away from my body and the pain in my right shoulder ( rhomboids to be exact) became intense. Excruciating in fact. Eventually, as Tiffany gently guided us through the release, she asked us to just let go of what no longer was needed. I felt a moment of lightness, levitation, call it what you will - that weightlessness that I experienced in my first ever yoga class happened and i began to cry. Tears streamed down my face and the pain in my right shoulder immediately just disappeared. just like that.
BEST. MEDITATION. EVER.
The amount of chronic stress that has accumulated in my body is immense and the response that my body has had to this is even worse than the trauma it has suffered in my short life. These last few days I have begun to find a light that I thought I might not ever find again. I have been feeling so helpless these last few years- thinking that my life was destined to be that of a sick person.
Now I know thats not my destiny. And I am ecstatic. I know I am meant to heal people by helping them heal them selves . And I cannot wait for my dream to become my reality.
In the meantime, if you don't meditate, then just stop making up excuses. JUST DO IT.
Meditation has the ability to transform you. It increases your ability to deal with stress, anxiety and grief and encourages neuro-plasticity. It gives every part of your body and mind and spirit a chance to heal. You have the power to change your physiology -thats right you do. So why would you not do it?
Try this simple meditation:
Create a space in your house or your bedroom. Light a candle, dim the lights and make your space your own. Set aside 5 or 10 minutes each day. Set a timer on your phone to remind you when you've finished. Sit quietly in a comfortable seated position or even upright in a chair. relax your shoulders, soften your jaw and gently close your eyes. Begin to become aware of your breath and sensations in your body that it creates. Follow your breath in and out. Sit like this for several more minutes. Just allowing yourself to be in the moment. With no judgement, or expectation, just to be.