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Yoga for the Heroes

Posted Nov 10 2009 10:01pm

All day long I've been sneezing and coughing my head off. I couldn't even take a deep breath without breaking into a full on coughing fit. But the ex offered to take the kids for the night (since he's been traveling and hasn't seen them since Halloween) so I would have an evening to myself.

What I wanted to do was get in a yoga class. I have taken one class since my surgery. In the meantime, my arms have lost their strength and tone. My abdomen is still weak from the cutting and stitching and not getting stronger at all. And I couldn't imagine how I'd take deep ujjayi breaths without coughing and therefore, disturbing all of my fellow yogis.

I've also been following the events at the Ft. Hood Memorial Ceremony today. I've read the victim's stories in this tragedy. I also recall supporting a man that I loved through a deployment to Iraq. I remember my own father and grandfathers who served in wars. All of these stories clouded my already cloudy head today with tomorrow being Veteran's Day.

So I went to a yoga class tonight and dedicated my practice to all of those men and women who serve our country.


I inhaled deeply for those 13 people who lost their lives at Ft. Hood.


I exhaled through the desire to cough for all of those who have died while protecting the freedoms that we take for granted.


I held my plank pose through shaking arms and an aching core for those men and women who board planes, separated from those they love, to fly into hostile territory to defend those who cannot defend themselves.


I relaxed in child's pose for those children who will be without their mothers or fathers this holiday season because of deployment... or death.


I stood tall in mountain pose for those soldiers who stand proudly, chest out, brave and strong, believing in what they are fighting for.


I held strong through burning thighs in Warrior pose for all of the warriors' families who do their best to hold down life while their soldier is at war.


I fell over during the balance poses. Instead of frustration, I comforted myself with loving thoughts. I then sent those thoughts to those that have faced war and come home off balance as well.


I joined the other students in a harmonic Om to send harmony forth into the hearts of all those who fight, those they fight for and those they fight against.


I rested in corpse pose for the men and women who believed in and fought for peace.


The class felt great. My body responded well but I can tell that I have a long way to go in regaining my strength. The most difficult part of the class was holding back so that I do not injure myself.

I have to learn patience.


Tomorrow is Veteran's Day. Before last year, I'd never even thought about it before. I was disconnected from war. I felt sympathy but couldn't relate to veterans who'd gone to war.

Besides, I prefer peace to war.

But life throws us into situations that turn our perspectives upside down. I have a new respect for soldiers. I support our troops. I empathize with their families. I am proud of the freedoms that were hard earned for us.

And actually, I believe that soldiers prefer peace as well.

So, as I must be patient with my yoga practice, I hope that tomorrow when we honor our heroes, we'll offer each other that same patience. I hope that we can send a smile and love to those whose stories may not sound like much now... but if you knew they died protecting you, you'd be moved to tears.

Yoga class being offered to American Army soldiers in India last month.
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