I know I’ve shared recently that my family is in the midst of major destruction. My parents and brother are no longer speaking, and this occurs when my parents are 85 years old, so it’s tragic that during my father’s decline in health and mental capacity, he’s decided to take legal action against my brother for perceived financial disagreements. In the midst of dealing with my parents’ mental and physical declines, as I’m mentally preparing myself for what the future brings us all – the end of life – I find myself extremely angry for what I perceive to be a petty issue raised into a legal battle that fractures our family, I also had to do something to help celebrate my mother’s 85th birthday. I didn’t want to be with them, and I have spent less time with them because of my frustration with their behavior, but at the same time, people don’t turn 85 every day and I wanted to help her celebrate it. We have taken trips to Las Vegas every year for my mother’s birthdays for a long time. With my father’s immobility, and mom’s illnesses, this would involve traveling with two disabled people, not something I was looking forward to. As expected, there were a number of moments that were incredibly sad and difficult. But I had yoga to turn to.
I have been doing yoga now for about 11 years. I started doing it at age 50. I could barely move. I was shocked to realize how out of shape I was and how much of my mobility I had lost. I was still exercising regularly which I have done most of my life, so I had no idea of how much I couldn’t do. I remember even the simplest positions and stretches being challenging and sort of painful, more like uncomfortable. But something happened each week as I did it. The uncomfortable positions began to become less so, and the flexibility gradually returned. My sense of discovery and accomplishment as I watched these occur was encouraging and I continued on. Over months I began to be able to do more challenging poses. Then I began to feel stronger and healthier than I’ve ever felt in my whole life, and happier to. At some point I began doing a little studying about the philosophical basis to yoga, and then I understood why.
Yoga is a health practice that has many sources from India, but it was generally developed to enhance both mental, physical and spiritual health. The goal of yoga is to learn to turn off the mental chatter, or monkey brain as it is referred to, the noise in our heads that makes us stressed and miserable. Much research has been done to see what makes us happy and sad. (Check out the EDX free class from University of California, Berkeley, “The Science of Happiness). A wandering mind tends to think unhealthy and unhappy thoughts 67% of the time. That means that when we don’t pay attention to what we think, we think negatively and feel bad.
Yoga gradually trains you to pay attention to your thoughts. It teaches you to breathe through stress. It trains you to quiet your busy brain. It makes you stronger and healthier. And it’s the best pain management I’ve ever found – the inactive body becomes painful; muscles and ligaments and other connective tissue shrinks when unused, and that causes pain.
So I went to a yoga class before I got my parents on that plane. And I’m glad I did because traveling with them that day, feeling like I was, was one of the hardest days of my life. And then I went to yoga the next day, and it was worth the $70 I paid in cab fare. The class I found in Las Vegas at the Yoga Sanctuary was perfect, it almost made me cry how incredibly healing it was. Everyone there was so warm and friendly, and the teacher, Celine, was fantastic and talked a lot about healing in her class. I went again on Saturday to yoga, and I felt energized and happy again. I brought them home yesterday, and coming home was much much easier. I went to yoga this morning. Today was a wise gift I gave myself, a day off to regroup. And today I realized that the reason yoga is so wonderful is that it brings you back to yourself. Yoga brings you back to the you that is without the stress, without all the noise, and is one of the most wonderful gifts you can give yourself.
Namaste. The light in me bows to the light in you.
2 thoughts on “The incredible healing power of yoga”
Hello Rhonda, I must say I have started to attempt to comment on your last 3 posts and just couldn’t gather all I wanted to express. So much I would like to say. I’m sorry you are having this quite difficult situation that’s basically been thrust into your life as it seems you have no control in changing the problem or outcome. Yes we can choose to ignore matters w/in our family or choose to become involved, of which you know that’s been my stance despite the suffering I may go thru. Family is difficult, exhausting, frustrating, exasperating and despite our best efforts sometimes they are not wanted or even considered. Are you completely aware of the entirety of the issue? Is your brother and father open to your input or even possibly a mediator? I can honestly say when you mentioned how you couldn’t believe how a parent could take their adult child into a legal battle ( maybe implied ) , I had to ask myself if I could do that very thing? I actually surprised myself by my answer: Yes. The way I perceive this situation and the answer I came to about being able to take legal action, which wouldn’t be done on a whim without doing all possible to rectify the situation first is that there may be a great deal of pain, miscommunication, no communication, anger and many assumptions on both sides unfounded that has led to this action. It’s the deep pain that’s caused this action I believe, although I may be entirely wrong. Somehow, someway one or both made a choice to not address an important situation which tipped the scales. Yes it’s hurting you, if you love them it should hurt but if you have been able to be allowed in attempting to help and found your advice or feelings pushed aside then I would have to say- let it hurt as long as it must until you can truly let it go. You can’t let it go halfway nor be involved halfway right?? I don’t believe anyone can say ” It doesn’t bother me anymore” w/o completely allowing that hurt to be acknowledged and questioned. Yes we can find solice in different types of activities we ourselves need and enjoy but the problem is usually still there until we can say without a doubt we did all we could. My opinion only. Namaste to you as well my friend.
I definitely didn’t mean to imply I couldn’t understand why a parent would sue a child. There are definitely legitimate reasons. Suffice it for all who read this, that this is definitely a two sided ordeal, and both parties involved are both right, and both wrong. Still, if a child was so devoted through your whole life and money wasn’t an issue, would you sever the relationship for money you didn’t actually need? There has been much effort to mediate by many in the family and my mother says one thing and does another, so now this is over, it’s done, and we all have to live with this new severed reality. What they actually both needed to do and still need to do is sit down and talk and listen to each other, and each refuses.
I know without a doubt I went above and beyond to do all I could, I am at peace with that. Many times I’m at peace with the whole situation and sometimes not, that’s the journey of life.
I appreciate your response Anne, and thanks.