In and out. Those are the basics. Fresh and clean in, used and finished out.
There are a multitude of breaths, or pranayama, in yoga. Tools to calm us, OR, to speed things up, to cool or heat the body, with the ultimate end goal of stilling the mind. Some call this zen, but I’m not clear on the differences between Buddhism and Yoga yet, so I will plainly call it stillness.
This past Sunday, my son (who will be three in November) fell on our brick hearth. I was not there to see it, but my daughter ran in to me, pleading “come now, please, Strider* hit his head and there’s a lot of blood.” Her panic was palpable. I immediately kicked into stoic mode.
What is stoic mode? Probably not a real thing, but for me, it is when I shuck off my emotions and shut down whatever I’m doing to focus on what is happening at that precise moment.
Stop what you’re doing. Go with her. How is Strider (son)? Crying, Dad has a paper towel and is holding it on Strider’s head. There is blood.
“Everyone needs shoes,” I say. “Let me finish brushing my teeth.” Dad is sitting in the backseat with Strider. Dove (daughter) in the front with me.
“He didn’t pass out,” I think/say. I call Bluetooth calling Urgent Care. Didn’t pass out, no vomiting, bleeding stopped. Ok put us on the list. “He’s not even crying anymore.”
Dove is close to hyperventilating. I turn off the music. I start paying attention to my breath.
“We’re lucky the doctor can see us today, we’ll be there in ten minutes.” Just now I begin to pay attention to how I breathe. In slowly, three, four. Hold. Out, two, three, four. My right hand is on my daughter’s knee. She rarely gets to sit shotgun, but she needs to be here today.
Upon arrival, the staff at Urgent Care takes a look at him and tells us he’ll probably have to go to the hospital because you can see his skull and they aren’t capable of MRI. Please wait and the doctor will see us.
We sure did get transferred. Three hours and ten stitches later we were home. We set an early bedtime.
“Mom, how did you stay so calm?” Dove asked me at bedtime. I am not always even and calm. It takes awareness, focus, and patience… also time.
“I’m not always that way,” I admitted. “As you know. But I can really turn it on when I need to.”
“How?” She asked.
“It takes a lot of practice.” We both laughed.
I would not say that practicing yoga will make you immune to stress or the dramas of life. But with practice, you might at least be able to turn it on and glide through.
AND! Strider got his stitches out today!