Learn by heart, imperfect and vulnerable and connected

It’s easy to loot the heart of its last honest beat.

I’m sipping an Americano inside Hazelnut Café*, downtown Blue Mounds, Wisconsin during a mild October day. Around me, my yoga teacher training (YTT) friends are chatting on our last day [of our 2nd week of] YTT 500 hour training.

It’s been an emotional week working intensively with the respiratory system and all that it stands for: our ability to connect, to give and receive love, and to process grief and sadness. Parasympathetic system, getting out of fight-flight-freeze response, restricted shoulder girdle and scapular instability.

Sean pokes me in the ribs and calls me back into the room, the chair I’m sitting on, the body I occupy. Julia laughs at my slightly offended look.

Unlock your ribcage.

I didn’t know my ribcage was stuck, locked down, frozen shut until this week. I drove home that day, listening to ACDC, Metallica and Disturbed full blast in my car. I was driving home to begin some deep work.

The human heart functions like an elevator.

When we inhale, diaphragm moves downward and the heart–attached to the diaphragm via the pericardium–moves downward as well. Exhaling, diaphragm moves upward and our heart, as well.

In a locked down ribcage, the heart, diaphragm and lungs have limited mobility. And intercostals, ribs, muscles.

As I opened my ribs to mobility, I questioned if this ribcage kept unpleasant feelings, emotions, situations locked OUT (which is often the reason why we freeze our ribs) or if I was locked IN.

I wear arrogance
on my sleeve
where my heart should be
my heart is under
lock and key
inside the cage of my ribs.

I incorporated practices into my daily life:

  • Breathing into the back of my lungs
  • Unclenching my fists
  • Releasing pec minor
  • Meditating on this elevator of my heart
  • Practicing thoracic extension
  • Meditating on diaphragm-psoas connection

This breakdown awakening since October provoked me to be:

  1. Real, authentic
  2. Aware
  3. Intuitive
  4. Inspired
  5. Raw
  6. Flexible
  7. Vulnerable
  8. Non-judgmental
  9. Acknowledging my imperfections

This breakdown awakening has enabled me to embrace the connection I have with my incredible community. This breakdown awakening has inspired me to be courageous as I make life decisions. This breakdown awakening has moved me into the work of exploring the art of compassion toward myself (and spreading outward).

All this from a seemingly annoying poke in my ribs, unlock your ribcage.

*Hazelnut Café sadly burned down December 2014.

• • •

The best advice my yogi friends received…

There’s nothing in the final pose.
That’s not the point of yoga;
that’s not the point of life.
Laura Erdman-Luntz

Rest is important.
Nadine Fawell

4 Lessons for a New Yoga Teacher
Kate Connell

When it hurts, stop.
Choose another path.
Take care of your self first.
Darla Brown