Where's the yoga in grief?

Dedicated to my dear friend, Richard Bowen.

Part I: Here is my offering, Here is my grief. 

There's the working self, the social self, the traveling self, even the yoga self. You and I are constantly suppressing the pure emotion and energy that is created within us. There are certain ways that we must act, mannerisms that we must follow, and feelings that we must never show in order to be a part of society. Sure, there are certain emotions that have to be monitored and controlled but that's totally different than rendering energy impure by the intentional addition of boundaries and restrictions. This week it's been especially difficult to hide my emotions - my grief, sadness, and utter shock from losing my dear Aunt and then sweet Richard. So I stopped trying to suppress them in my practice. Instead, I've been trying to take all of this energy and emotion swirling around and pour it into my yoga practice. I've been trying to utilize the only experience I know to be true (my own) by facing it head-on. I mean, isn't that the foundational intentions of yoga - to bring cohesion between the mind and the body? 


I am funneling my sadness from the backs of my eyes through the ends of my fingertips, pouring my anger from the pit of my stomach through my outer hips, and releasing my anxieties (the 'what-if's') through the back of my skull. I am paying attention to what my heart says because it usually knows me better than my body does. By aligning my self with my Self, I am preserving the integrity of my inward experience and simultaneously expanding this pure and unyielding life force from its closed container (self) into the universe (Self).

Here is my offering to you. Find a comfortable seat. Bring your hands to your heart center and press your thumbs against your sternum, as a way of giving your heart permission to show its raw power. Let us release all of this pure and untouched energy through the practice, through the breath, through the twists and lifts and stretches.

Let us all sing OM.

Let us begin.

Part II: Sunday's Remorse 

Dear Richard,

I can't remember why I let the flowers sit in my online shopping cart for an extra 36 hours. I probably just got distracted. I probably remembered to do it but decided not to do it at that very moment. I hate the stupid pun that I used on the card that went with the flowers. I hate that I thought using a pun was appropriate while you were dying. I hate that I sent flowers and a note with a stupid pun 36 hours too late. Most of all, I hate that you died. I hate believing that there is a higher power in this universe that let you die. I hate that the most powerful and profound thing about you (your brain) ended up killing you. 

I hate cliches and I hate using cliches. But fuck it, we're all going to die sooner or later and I can't lament over whether or not something I said was too expectable. I put off an act of kindness for 36 hours, which I'll regret for more than 36 years. I've also put off acts of kindness and love thousands of times before and probably a hundred times this month. There are plenty of moments when I didn't text my sister back and times when I purposefully didn't pick up the phone when my Mom called. I didn't respond to a really thoughtful Facebook message that you sent to me and I didn't respond to a really thoughtful Facebook message that your friend sent to me after you died. It happens all the time. 

Sometimes, it's difficult to reach out to others, with authenticity and honesty. I feel burnt out sometimes. And taking the extra few minutes to get around to it never really matters...until it does. But you didn't get tired of supporting others or forgot to check in with your friends. I am still amazed by that. You were always the first one to text me, "You good?" I appreciated that. You always told others them how much they inspired and taught you and you proclaimed it often. You didn't see how inspiring that you were to all of us. You drank Humble2O all-day, every day. We can be modest about expressing our love and gratitude for others and yet, where's our modesty when it comes to climbing the social ladder, word-vomiting our latest achievements, or hash-tagging what we ate for breakfast?!

I know it's too late, Richard, but since you died I haven't been able to keep down words that I had previously swallowed.

I love you (I'm sorry that I never told you).

I miss you (I hope your immortal spirit can feel it).

I am inspired by you (more than you will ever know)

This world is at a loss (you were a profound healer).

Namaste and Amen.

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