Monday, May 9, 2016

Reclaim Advantage! Reclaim Life! The Healing Power of Yoga

It began with an invitation to "like" Meghan Delaney Zipin's Facebook Page "Peoney and the Bee Yoga." I was intrigued so I went to her website. We decided to meet in person to explore what the Universe might have in store for us as I wrote about in a recent blog.

As Meghan unpacked her bag bringing out a yoga strap, blocks, blanket, a mini Bose speaker a heart shaped rock from Costa Rica... she commented that she felt like Mary Poppins:

I suggested that was a perfect image for me. Mary Poppins went into the Banks household and brought her magic. She helped move the family beyond a contracted state of living to one of expansion, joy and magic. What Meghan did not know when she used that metaphor was that when I saw Mary Poppins as an 11 year old, I sat in a full plaster ankle to hip cast for 6 weeks during the summer to correct a right knee that had been locking and buckling. Without the benefits of an MRI and trying to avoid surgery since three years earlier I had come out of a long metal leg brace on my left leg to help me walk again after contracting paralytic polio, the orthopedist opted for a cast to see if the knee would stabilize.

Meghan indeed brought magic to 30 Eliot Street today.

Meghan had reviewed my intake form before arriving for my session and went over it with me from memory asking additional questions that would guide how she would lead me in the practice. She made sure that I was okay with hands on assists and through words and her body language she created a safe space for me to explore moving and being in new yet old familiar ways. "Sometimes our bodies just need to be reminded of what to do," Meghan suggested.

This tied in perfectly with the work I do with Jeffrey Spratt,MT where I am reclaiming my body as "factory new" unencumbered by the effects of paralytic polio and violence through the power of positive touch.

"So what is it about vjerasana pose (sitting back on the heels) that is important for you?" Meghan asked with compassion and tenderness.

"Well I see so many people including Jeffrey who is 6'2" tall and big and strong who can easily sit back on their heels. I want to feel that everything is accessible to me in my body and I get stuck in being able to just sit back on my heels."

Meghan explored where I was feeling stuck in accessing the pose and provided education about the body. I shared with her how I had scar tissue from reconstructive leg surgery in my left leg and overall tension in my quads from childhood rape and wanted to feel free in my body to open up everything.

What a blessing to experience a compassionate, nonjudgmental assessment from a trained physical therapist passionate about the healing power of yoga.

"Okay let's begin," Meghan said and reminded me that if anything did not feel good or right in my body to let her know and we will figure something out.

How I needed to connect with my breath feeling the floor of my home to support me. I could feel the healing power of my breath to both calm me and ignite the power and strength within me. Meghan's verbal and hands on cues reminded me that our bodies move in four ways and the flow was beautifully crafted to encourage me to experience the expansiveness of my breath and my body.

I lost all sense of self consciousness about my body and was able to experience the practice without judgment. I haven't done bridge pose since I had a regular yoga practice because it was a very painful pose for me. Yet today, with proper sequencing and opening as well as Meghan initially using blocks to help me access bridge along with verbal cues and hands on assists, it was a wonderfully empowering and opening pose for me. "Can I go up into wheel?" I spontaneously asked Meghan. A muscle memory from when I was 5 years old surged through every neuron in my body. Before contracting paralytic polio I was a ballet dancer; flexible, graceful and strong and could do a back bend with incredible ease. "I'm glad you were able to access that memory," Meghan commented to me. It didn't matter that I had not yet expressed the pose in my physical body; experiencing it in my mind made it just as real as if I had gone up into the back bend.

After rinsing out my practice with twists lying down after bridge, Meghan said she usually doesn't go from lying down to sitting or standing but "here's what we are going to do". She was so gentle and supportive setting up blocks and guiding my body into sitting back on my heels, vjerasana. The first level of blocks made the pose too intense so she rearranged them so I could feel both challenged and supported at the same time. She said, "There you go." I discovered that if I unclenched my butt I could relax into sitting back on my heels and allow my quad muscles to relax and stretch.

We concluded our practice the way we began our practice breathing together and using visualization to deepen the breath and expand the feeling of joy and love.

She asked if I would like music to accompany the practice to which I eagerly agreed before we started. I loved her playlist which concluded with Yellow:

As Meghan said, "sometimes the body just needs to be reminded of what to do."

What a blessing and a gift from the Universe that in addition to reclaiming my life and reclaiming my advantage through the power of positive touch with Jeffrey Spratt,MT, I am now able to reclaim my life and my body through the healing power of yoga under the gentle, loving, compassionate and skilled guidance of Meghan Zipin and Peony and the Bee Yoga. I felt supported and safe through every breath of the practice, encouraged to move a little bit beyond where I was to experiencing new ways of being in my body. As Meghan quotes on her website, "healing is a verb we get to do. we participate in healing.- jillian pransky

To your health and wellness!

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