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I’m doing some home improvement on the temple that is my body.
This temple is the pathway to my mind, my soul, my spirit. My current project is opening up my chest and shoulders, the realm of my heart chakra. I sit in class, easy pose legs crossed, eyes closed, shoulders back and down; a struggle for me between strength and relaxation, preparing myself for the lesson ahead. I feel the tightness in across my collar, the tension in my neck, my shoulders pulling forward. My thoughts are a circus. After warming up we come to bind or arms behind our back and I feel the twinge of a deep stretch coupled with fear at the intensity of the sensation. I push my chest forward, my heart reaching out. I breathe into the loosening muscle. In like a wave crashing in and cleansing, out as the breath carries away with it the tightness and the struggle. I’m opening anatomically. Spiritually, I am chipping away at some old negative self beliefs. As I pull my arms back, I undo years of rounding forward, hanging my head low, thinking I wasn’t good enough. In my head, I think, that might not be true, maybe I can stand tall and confident… my pose deepens, the muscles relax further. I push my heart forward with the courage it takes to open it back up after having to guard it for so, so long. There it is, the rice crispy creaks and cracks, clearing out the dust of the places in my body and my mind that were hidden and dark. The light, the breath, the circulation comes through. I’ve shed light on it, brought awareness to it. With my next out breath, I wave goodbye to the old pain I’ve just released, I don’t need it anymore. Inhale and lengthen. Release and shake it out. The end of the session back where I started, legs crossed “easy pose” . I take inventory of my body, my mind, my breath. I feel much looser, its easier to sit like that, my head is quieter, hushed by the sweet lullaby of my breath. I leave knowing I can repair myself, in whatever way I need. Head high and heart forward, I go into a world that is just a little bit brighter and easier to breathe in. This is my yoga.

by Jef Madden of Peephole Photography

by Jef Madden of Peephole Photography