by Barb Golub
Over the past year, I have been digging into the study of yoga anatomy; I would even go so far as to proudly state that I am a budding alignment nerd. I find no greater beauty, no greater capacity for creativity, no greater art than that of the body’s ability to know itself, heal itself and structure itself in a way that maximizes all of its forms.
This morning, I had a video call with my (by-spirit-not-blood) sister, Cassie. I told her that my current agitation is this niggling feeling that I must write and share about my no longer existent love affair, but that I am worried this would be disrespectful to it, to me, to him. I told her how, many months ago, in a moment of silence, I committed myself to exiting the relationship with love, kindness and grace. I asked, “Is it loving, kind and gracious of me to share my experience? I just have this, this…urge to get it out there!” Cassie told me that I could write, share and maintain my integrity by using “metaphor, hyperbole, and shit.”
Maybe my current fascination with alignment is par for the course in this particular stage of my yoga practice. Or, maybe, I am finally—finally!—ready to talk about the greater trochanter and its functions. Or, maybe, I feel confident enough to say words like “greater trochanter.”
Or, perhaps, my love of muscles and bones and tissue is a mirror to the importance I have found in recognizing when something does not feel right… And moving on to find something that does.
When my marriage started to fall apart, I experienced tremendous anxiety. The kind of anxiety that caused chewed cuticles, friends to house me so they could make sure I was sleeping and eating, and my parents to start looking at flights to come be with me on this side of the globe, 16-hour flight be damned. No longer able to sustain my well-being, I had no choice but to stare my misalignment in its face. Gifting myself the freedom to feel the topsy-turvy belly and the lump in my throat without judgment opened up an opportunity to pinpoint where, exactly, I was out of alignment.
As it turns out, my cuticles, sleep patterns and eating behaviors were being chomped by my misaligned heart.
To get back into alignment, the thing that had to happen was change. Only, rather than working from the inside out like all of my anatomy books tell me, I needed to work from the outside in. With care, I began to extrapolate myself from the relationship and, as I did, my anxiety began to subside: bit-by-bit, part-by-part, drop-by-gut wrenching-drop.
Cassie urged me to write about Kali. She told me to take my experience, connect it to this goddess warrior and see how my own soul was liberated in the same way that Kali’s dance of destruction helped save the world.
The thing about heart-based misalignments, though, is that they can often be more difficult to detect than your standard dance of destruction. We get so used to feeling pain in our relationships that we perceive the whole thing as normal. It is not. So here, as I participate in moving from heart-ache to heart-expansion, I nerd out in the best way I know how.
I realign (and shit).
Beyond supporting classroom teachers in Taipei, Taiwan, Barb teaches yoga and is enjoying the newbie ex-pat life. She loves eating chips from around the world, practicing her handstand on any given beach and is slowly learning the difference between exposure compensation and aperture priority. You can find more of Barb’s life at aumgirl.tumblr.com