Today, I went to yoga. I’ve missed lots lately, because of various procedures, appointments, surgeries. Normally, I go daily, often five or so times a week, though cancer has seriously cut into my hot, sweaty Bikram time.

Yoga. One of my favorite teachers says, always, “Yoga means union. Yoga means unity. Yoga means you.” She is right. Yoga is warm (hot, in fact! It’s Bikram!) and familiar, especially when the snow is falling on Vancouver and I am asked to repeat my name and birthday four hundred million times to four hundred million medical professionals when I walk into a hospital, which is like, everyday. The poses are always the same, my body knows them. I know what is coming and at the same time, I haven’t a clue, but even in the not-knowing how it will go any particular day, yogeando,  as we call it in our house, is the most awesome, mind-clearing, body-feel good, instant-skin-refreshing, experience. I love.

Today, I did something I never do. I left. Before the class was over. It’s totally taboo to leave before the 90 minutes are up. But tonight, my port incision pulsed. I can’t lay on my belly. My lymph node incision really began to ache. I was tired. I felt pulled to writing my diss conclusion, hanging in the balance at home.

And so, after the long halfway break and then the first posture, when everyone flipped to their bellies and it became apparent my seriously marked up chest- two port incisions and a port-bump, a neck biopsy bruise, a lumpectomy scar, a giant blue blotch of dye from the node surgery, and a node removal scar- was not going to have any of the laying-on-the-belly savasana, I decided I’d had enough. I relaxed for a bit, drank the rest of my water, put my rings back on, and tip-toed out.

“Yoga means union. Yoga means unity. Yoga means you.”

Sometimes, yoga means listening to the body, responding. Listening to the scars screaming for cold air, even as the muscles need to stay so badly. Bringing the body back into balance with itself, re-channeling energy and being kind to the broken body parts, the parts marked so barbarically by modern medicine.

Slash/burn/kill. This is cancers’ treatment. Unable to distinguish between good and bad, vibrant and malicious, nurturing and abnormal, the slash/kill/burn approach throws unity, union, you out with the wind because there is not another choice. There is not enough knowledge. There is not a way to distinguish, to pick apart, to know what is good, vibrant, nurturing and what cells will soon morph, becoming bad, malicious, abnormal. Yoga pleads, in contrast, for unity, union, you. For centering in unknowing, for salty sweat in eyes and for locked knees and for yearning for clean, fresh water. For warm spaces, for familiar movement, for favorite teachers. For back stretches, for flexible shoulders, for touching the head to the knee. For imagining a posture is a theorist, and rocking it. For yoga-breathing in the midst of haphazard writing. For a cell phone left in the car, unanswerable. For a deep breath and a comfortable familiarity and a sweet release.

Tonight, I am thankful to have yoga. It’s bring a friend for free month. What Vancouverites want to come with me? Email me!


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