“Good morning sun it’s good to be alive,” intoned Hayward, our yoga guide at Hawaii’s Yoga Oasis. Every day for years he has faced the sun and said this. I found myself repeating these words shortly after my diagnoses. I think I started welcoming the sun once I could stand on my own two feet again. The longer and better I could stand, the greater my joy. I think that once I could balance on one foot again that I knew I was going to be ok.
It was actual light that brought me toward healing from my first exacerbation. I remember that when I first was diagnosed, many people kept telling me about the candles they had lit for me. During the night I wrote about in Part 2, I used those candles as a guide.
I hadn’t slept in days. Days without sleep and large doses of steroids do strange things to people. The night before my healing began, I stayed up almost all night surfing the net and reading strange stories about the Nadja who is my namesake. In my heightened state it was as though we connected across time. When I closed my lap top to sleep, I began to drift off for the first time in a while and then I felt her beside me. My heart raced as for a minute, I thought I beheld her ghost. Then I startled fully awake to find this specter an image of my overactive imagination. That night as I struggled with the pain in my body, she visited again briefly. It was a dark and stormy night (literally) but I banished her from my room and set to healing myself with breathe.
I breathed, moving in circles through my vertigo but when I closed my eyes I felt as though I was tumbling. At this point, I focused on my breath, deepening it through the pain. The breath alone was not enough to stop my tumble so I began to imagine the candle my mother had lit for me at the Notre Dame cathedral. I followed the light of that candle in the dark place behind my eyes and for the first time in a long time, I was not afraid. I breathed and breathed. All the candles people had lit for me surrounded me and I was reassured by the voices of every teacher I ever knew. Perhaps everything that happened that night was the result of sleep deprivation and steroid psychosis, but whatever actually occurred, like Hayward, I came to embrace the sun.
I awoke with the feeling that I had just experienced months of yoga teacher training in one night. I had more clarity than ever before. Things are murkier now but in yoga we take about a “practice”, so I guess these days I do a lot of practicing. I still practice breath, patience, meditation and compassion for myself and when I teach, I try to practice karma yoga (giving). My desire as a teacher is to give some of what I have received, to share the joy and pleasure of yoga and to promote peace within myself and others. I truly receive more than I give but the practice itself brings me light. The light of yoga is what I give thanks for today.