Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Cycle; Yoga Off the Mat

After five years of practicing yoga, I have finally begun to try to integrate beyond the asana. Oh I consider being an ecoholic to be inextricable from Yoga, ahimsa, oneness etc, but I have always been a 'crap, should have BREATHED during that situation' type person.

driveway to my parent's cottage... where we stayed this weekend

This weekend sure tested my ability to centre, to ground. My family is close, my extended family (aunts and uncles, tantes et oncles), are extremely important and have been a part of my life since I can remember. I have come to understand that not all families are this way, Andrew's family isn't. Although I have lost several family members to cancer (and other reasons), I have only said 'goodbye' once... when I was 15 years old. The experience haunted me for years, and I don't think I quite grasped it then.

This weekend, Andrew and I made an emergency three hour drive 'home' to visit my Uncle who is dying of cancer.

Strangely, I thought that because he was the one Uncle that I have had the least amount of contact with, that it would be easier. I was very wrong. He was diagnosed a few months ago, during a seemingly inconsequential operation. No treatment was recommended... He is in his home, recognized me and we actually had a lucid conversation. We'll be making another trip very soon, it was apparent. He looked so much like my father... 

I really can't write more about the visit, it was personal and I want this experience to remain sacred... it still feels raw.

Throughout the visit and afterwards I breathed. I practiced grounding my Self, holding on to that connection I was there to make. Despite feeling like a weird empty husk today, I know that my family, Andrew and what I have learned through yoga helped.

I also know that yoga has opened up those closely shut doors on my emotion that have kept me disconnected. Once we recognize our interconnectivity, to each other and our planet, it becomes harder to separate the 'me' from 'us'. As a result, each person, each exchange FEELS so much more. If it is a part of 'me', then I feel it as US.
Me and BACON, my brother's Giant Breed Saint Bernard on the lake

It's important that as I stumble through this life, that I cultivate healing to help with this. At the same time, I do believe that although many might deem as 'drama' I see this emotional sensitivity as Right.

On this day of Love and Family, I wish you all, EcoYogi-ni's, Light and Connection.

article and photograph copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. There are some yogis who would say that yoga is intricately bound up with the cycle of life and death. Through practicing both breathing and asana (as one), yoga is in fact our participation in this cycle.

    There are others who would say that yoga is as much about life as it is about preparing for the great samadhi we all inevitably experience.

    However, the knowledge of these things does not prepare us - it's the action of doing our yoga and breathing and finding our sense of compassion and love for ourselves and others... that is where the knowledge actually means something.

    To be around for the birth or death of a human being is a great honour. These transitions are both mysterious and ordinary and it absolutely doesn't matter how close you are to someone. Especially if they are a blood relation! Blood and breath are shared by all people.

    And you have helped and contributed significantly through your yoga practice. Keep breathing. Keep practicing. And keep offering love to your uncle and family members.

    You're doing everything you need to be doing. Om Shanti!

  2. thank you for talking about the emotions connected with yoga...i find the practice to release so much out of me, sometimes bringing me close to tears when i get to 'that' point... and when i've been without it for a while, going back reminds me how much i've been holding onto.

  3. So sorry to hear about such a painful experience...keep breathing.

    Sending love your way-

  4. I really have tears in my eyes as I read this.

    Your sentiments are quite raw and I can't thank you enough for sharing them. I hope, in some way, that is healing.

    The breath to connect, the awareness of US, certainly brings us closer to that fire of pain. I guess with that elation we realize during those fully connected moments we must also accept responsibility of feeling deeper...during all times.

    I wish you and your family much peace during this time.

  5. Hey lady, sending you lots of positive energy. Blessings.

  6. I could say so much about this - but I'll just stick with "I'm so there with you." When someone you love is dying or is almost crippling to feel the connection between us. Not that I'd want it any other way, but oh my goddess. Indescribable. Raw, dark, sacred, heartbreaking, wondrous, and completely painful.

    Blessings to your family at this time.

  7. I think it was Ram Dass who said something like "if you think you're enlightened, go visit your family"...and I'd say that goes double or triple for dealing with the death, or impending death of a family member...seeming like the more you need to be centered, the harder it is. But, it's good to know that yoga's helping.

    I send you my best thoughts in this difficult time, Lisa.

  8. Yoga off the mat is perhaps the hardest part of the whole journey, much harder than forearm balances!!

    My big Eureka moment was non-attachment. It has helped me cope with love and death a lot better. It's so hard though to not cling, but life is so much better if you don't.

    You're doing just great girl xx

  9. Loosing someone to cancer, no matter how close you are, is always hard. It's good that you have found some comfort from yoga. Sending blessing your way . . .

  10. Sending you and your uncle good vibes :-)

  11. lovely & moving... thanks so much for sharing. Many blessings & much peace coming your way.

  12. Wishing you continued strength.

    Our North American society is very strange about death..we avoid talking about it although it something that we will all go through.

    I wish we could talk more freely about it-our confusions,our questions ,and of course ,those who have gone before us.

  13. thank you for such beautiful and supportive comments everyone! So positive and lovely.
    It's funny, I didn't talk about any of this with my parents or friends... seemed a bit self-serving right? I mean, it's not like he's my father, or brother...

    but writing about it was cathartic, like I had to give these emotions Voice and a Right to be there.

    Thank you for understanding :)

  14. Thank you for sharing such a sacred part of yourself. Know that I am sending positive healing energy your way! Hugs and blessings to you and your family!

  15. In 2009, both of my grandpas passed away. I wasn't extremely close with either of them, but it still hurt--way more than I thought it would. I think you're right about sensitivity. It's at least not wrong.

    Isn't it weird how we're so insulated from both birth and death?

  16. I'm so sorry to hear about your uncle. It's always difficult to be in the presence of a loved one who is suffering and losing--no matter the depth of our relationship with them. As you mentioned, a connection is always there. Extending a big bloggy hug your way.

    Am glad to hear that the yoga practice is making your emotional experience much more grounded however, and that as a family you can all be together to support each other and your uncle in his passing....

  17. Being able to offer love to someone who is suffering and dying is one of the most precious gifts you can give - and receive. The opportunity to "say goodbye" is precious and rare. The reaffirmation of family, kinship and love that you are going through is what makes life worth living, is what makes our human experience mean something.

    Have you read Paulo Cohelo's "Warrior of the Light"? Keep breathing, Eco-Warrior. May your Uncle-Warrior embody these words: "[the Warrior of the Light] tries to establish what he can truly rely on. And he always checks that he carries three things with him: faith, hope, and love.

    If these three things are there, he does not hesitate to go forward."


  18. very sorry to hear about this. sending you and your family much needed healing thoughts. hugs!!

  19. It is so courageous of you to be with that rawness and experience that interconnection. Sending you and your family much metta.

  20. The way you wrote about this experience was beautiful. It gave me preparation, in a way, for the time in which I might experience something similar. To just be present... with the pain... or the sadness... can make it also peaceful at the same time. I remember Eckhart Tolle talking about this during a talk... and it sounded a lot like how you described it here. Namaste

  21. Sending warm thoughts! It sounds like you are moving forward with everything in the right place to process this experience in a way that will be healthy for you. Thank you for sharing this. Be well, and true to yourself (it sounds like you are).


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