C’mon, you’ve even entertained the idea as an adult: If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I eavesdropped as my children, when they were younger, discussed their superpower desires with friends; usually, the answers were “flying,” “reading people’s minds” (ugh! can you imagine!), or “running super fast.” Maybe adult answers might be “making insane amounts of money without even trying”, “eating whatever I want without ever getting fat,” or “never getting tired.”
Give me a cape embroidered with a “C”, somebody; I finally got my superpower.
I was a highly anxious child, depressed teenager, and anxious young adult. I experienced debilitating panic attacks in college. Anxiety felt like a mouse eating the insulation of my mind.
My method for dealing as a younger person was journaling and running. Most certainly those activities took the edge off the sharp blade of panic. I felt a sense of control, like I was stepping on the neck of my enemy.
One of the reasons I was devastated by my running injuries in 2009 was that I no longer could have the upper hand in the battle, or at least that it how it felt. Who would I be if I couldn’t keep that shit contained?
I never would have sought out yoga if not for injury.
I approached yoga like running, looking for a way to kick my own ass and work up a sweat. I was certainly surprised by the difficulty, as I wrongfully assumed the strength I developed in running would make yoga easy.
Those of you who have cultivated a yoga practice know how it goes. Step on the mat for one reason or another, and sooner or later, something big starts happening. I remember points along the way when I felt layers of protection around my heart peeling back, revealing what needed to be felt and dealt with. There is no hiding in yoga.
I thank my teacher Marietta for introducing me to how badass yoga can be and loving me–and so many others–in the middle of our struggles.
I thank my teacher Dean for teaching me about sthira and sukha and whetting my appetite for more understanding. He gave me a breath-centered practice that delivered to me the truth that I had to seek my liberation and leave my marriage. Dean, you were the right teacher for the right time, and I am thankful for the space you provided for me.
I thank my teacher Jason for teaching me how to teach; his accessibility, humor, and clarity helped me help others.
I thank my current teachers, PJ and Larissa, for their unwavering integrity and commitment to our beautiful practice, for helping me learn to trust them and myself, for ushering me into a space way beyond what I could have imagined for myself.
I can’t mark the moment when I stepped off the battlefield with anxiety. It fell away, bit by bit, piece by piece, over the last year. It’s not that I don’t have days of worry or moments or panic; I do. But the stronghold anxiety had on me, that’s over.
This is a superpower, this calm. I “used” running to push anxiety down, and it bubbled up again. Yoga asked me to step right into it and breathe it through.
You can’t beg for this, borrow it, or steal it.
This calm was earned. This calm is maintained. This calm makes me a f’ing superhero.