yoga1
Breast Cancer, Life & Parenting, New Beginnings

Aerial Yoga

Some days you find yourself moving along with life and feeling pretty good. Which, for those of you that know what the last year or so of our lives have been like – you know that this is no small task. And some days you find yourself upside down in an aerial yoga class with a few tears streaming down your cheeks.

yoga2They weren’t tears of pain. They were tears of healing and moving past more things. Or “a milestone night” as my sweet friend Sarah (over at live, laugh, and learn) said as she wrapped her arms around me for a hug.

Several of us attended an aerial yoga class tonight at Fly Dog Yoga. It was amazing. Like really amazing. And apparently the universe aligned to provide me just what I needed… Which was, a little more healing.

Ever since my mastectomy, I have been UBER protective of my chest. My muscles around my chest, armpits and back aren’t what they once were. They are tight and tender sometimes and it takes a lot of stretching for me to loosen up. Not to mention there’s a lot of numbness but also some nerve pain at times. And honestly, I’m not sure they will ever be as I would like them to be. So I guard them. And, as I clearly saw tonight, I guard them too much.

After our wonderful instructor got class started, we moved on to where we wrapped the hammock around our upper back, under our arms. Alarm bells sounded in my head. Thinking to myself, “this may hurt” and “don’t know if I can do this.” Then, with our feet firmly planted, we were to relax into it and gently swing our bodies around, allowing the hammock to cradle our upper backs and underarms. With a deep breath I did it. It was a little uncomfortable, but not the worst. So I did it again. And each time I circled, I simply realized that I could do it.

And my eyes welled with tears. Because I realized that I needed to let my guard down a little more. To stop protecting my chest and subsequent muscles as much. To let go. To simply let go.

We continued through class. Some things I could do, a few I couldn’t. But those things that I could not do were not related to breast cancer, they were straight-up related to being out of shape. As a side note, I’m working on that too – currently day 2 into my couch-to-5k!!

At the end of class, during Savasana (final restingĀ pose), the lights are off and our entire bodies are all each gently cradled and gently rocking in our hammocks. It’s when you can truly relax your body and mind (and absolutely one of my favorite things about yoga). And the tears flowed as I peacefully swung and I truly let go. Being wrapped in the hammock and rocking was the most soothing thing to me. I just needed it. And I needed to cry a bit, because sometimes you need that emotional release when you let go of things that you have been so fiercely protective over.

It was a milestone night for me. I did something that I couldn’t do a year ago because of treatment and healing and pain. But I did it tonight. And in doing so, realized that I needed to let go of a bit more. Realized that I had been holding on to more than I needed to.

Jason and I spent the better part of a year healing, practicing mindfulness and doing our best not to worry about cancer. It is just not as easy as it sounds. Because it is so all consuming, it takes a lot of mental energy and work to re-enter life after cancer diagnosis and treatment. Because it is constantly on your mind. We have worked through so much. But there is always something else to work through, to heal.

If he and I have learned anything, it’s this: if you let it come to you, feel what you need to feel and let it go, you will find much needed healing within yourself. It isn’t always easy. But I feel like a new woman. And I’m especially grateful for sweet and supportive friends always there with hugs.

So let’s all get our “heal on” as we continue to work on ourselves. To let those feelings come as they need to. To embrace them. To let them go. And to learn a little more about ourselves in the process.

So much love y’all,
Shannon

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