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Can Uplifted Feet Lead to an Uplifted Heart?

I found yoga because of cancer.  As I stated in an earlier blog, I operated my pre-cancer life under the assumption that the answer to every question was “No.”   As such, it took me a lot to get to “Yes” and venture out.  Plus, I’ve done my share of aerobic classes in which I felt spastic and completely lost.  Who wanted to submit to that again?

Of course, my two cancer surgeries took a major toll on my body.  I guess I was desperate to do something to improve my body image.  Three months after my second surgery, we joined the local Y and I started using the weight room, something I had never done before in my life.   I was committed and went regularly, but I could feel my interest waning fast.  So, I tried a Pilates class. 

The class was crowded and I was lying on my mat in the middle of the floor.  I was doing okay until the instructor told us to lie on our backs and raise our feet off the ground.  My feet wouldn’t budge.  Not an inch, not a half inch.  Not to make excuses, but I had a TRAM flap procedure as part of my reconstructive surgery.  I was down to one transverse rectus abdominis muscle where there used to be two.  Plus, I was totally out of shape.  Of course, that’s the intellectual response.  I actually responded with shame and total abject grief.  I was shocked to find yet another cancer loss - the ability to do something so seemingly simple.  I wanted to run out of the room weeping, but I would have trampled other women who could lift their feet off the floor. 

So much for Pilates.  I know it works for others, but it just wasn't for me.  I thought about doing yoga some time ago, but of course didn’t follow up.  I found a class called “Stress Management Yoga,” which I felt safe walking into as a total beginner.    Before the class started the teacher welcomed me, letting me know that yoga was noncompetitive and that wherever I was in my abilities was exactly where I was supposed to be at that moment.  I followed along as best I could and it was love at first down dog. 

It’s been a year and I now do yoga every day, Monday through Friday.  Just the other day, out of nowhere it seemed, I attempted the boat pose and my feet miraculously went straight up in the air.  I had tried it before and couldn’t do it, so I was stunned.  I’ve come a long way from that Pilates class and yoga has helped bring me here.  It’s been good for my body and my spirit. Yoga reminds me that I am exactly where I am supposed to be today, and, so it seems, are my feet.

Survival > Existence,

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