Accept. Breathe. Expand.

Leena ji, my yoga teacher is a hard taskmaster.

 

This particular morning was exceptionally strenuous. I had missed a couple of sessions and had to push myself to get into rhythm.

 

I decided to hold each asana for at least 2 minutes. Little did I know one of the asanas that day would be ‘suptavajrasana.’

 

yoga suptavajrasana pose

suptavajrasana pose

 

I felt the excruciating pull in my thighs when I reclined backwards. My mind was screaming, “You’ll never be able to get through 2 minutes of this one.”

 

It took immense will power to silence my mind. I redirected it to a chant instead.

 

Accept the discomfort.

Breathe into it.

Expand.

 

After the first 30 seconds, it wasn’t so bad. By repeatedly chanting this, I got through 2 minutes.

 

My mind drifted to difficult situations life throws at us. Our first response is to ‘run’ away from these experiences. We avoid them for as long as possible.

 

In my mind, I started applying this chant to different situations.

 

A relationship goes awry. It hurts. You put on a brave front. You try to numb the pain by going out with friends or binge eating.

 

Every time the feeling of grief comes up, you suppress it. You can’t stand the discomfort.

 

What if you accept it? Stay with the feeling. Open your heart to it. Then breathe into it. Now feel your heart expand.

 

It doesn’t hurt that much anymore, does it. It’s a bad situation at work.

 

You messed up big time. You’re embarrassed. You don’t want to go to work. You feel every body ‘knows’ and is staring at you. It’s a terrible, uncomfortable feeling. You wish you were invisible. If only the ground would swallow you.

 

What’s done is done. It can’t be changed. But you have a choice in the moment. Yes, you got it.

 

Accept it.

Breathe.

Expand.

 

The edge is taken off, isn’t it?

 

The mind is a mean machine! It works at a phenomenal speed. Sitting at home, I can travel the entire world in a few minutes!

 

The following yoga session, Leenaji continued with the army-mode training. During the asana time, it was one tough asana after another. Having a bad back, I find ‘naukasana’ extremely difficult. I was determined to hold for at least a minute.

 

yoga boat pose

 

Just then Mohit sauntered in.

 

He watched intently as I struggled to hold the asana. The chant was on in my mind.

 

Accept.

Breathe.

Expand.

 

He laughed out aloud.

 

It’s a role reversal, I thought. Normally I watch as he goes through the ‘grind’ of different classes.

 

The next day, I had a meeting with a client. We were ecstatic about how her autistic son had independently gone to a store close to her clinic and bought himself a drink. We were thrilled that he came back to her clinic unassisted.

 

I asked her about her feelings till he returned. She said she was so worried and anxious that sweat trickled down her brow.

 

I could relate to it.

 

As we talked, how much fear I hold within myself dawned on me.

 

Mohit’s seizures are constantly at the back of my mind. Fear hovers in the background, waiting to make its presence felt.

 

My thoughts drifted towards Mohit again. I visualized him laughing as I struggled with naukasana…

 

Accept.

Breathe.

Expand.

 

The penny dropped.

 

I could almost hear him say, ‘That’s a great formula, Mom! Are you ready to experience it in real life situations?”

 

I can’t control the occurrence of seizures. They’re beyond me. Can I accept that I can’t control the situation? Can I expand my life condition and move beyond fear?

 

For life has to be experienced fully. It can’t be lived in the head.

 

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