Hot Lava

Yoga allows you to rediscover a sense of wholeness in your life, where you do not feel like you are constantly trying to fit the broken pieces together.B.K.S. Iyengar

When Molly and Jimmy were little, they played a game they called “Hot Lava”. The rules were simple — the family room floor was covered in hot lava, and they couldn’t step on it (for obvious reasons). Because of the hot lava, Molly and Jimmy “had” to climb on the back of the couch, stand on the coffee table and leap from the couch to the fireplace. Otherwise, “we could burn up, Mom!”

After Jimmy died, I spent a lot of days feeling as though I was surrounded by hot lava. Music, photographs, emails, cards, talking to other people — any one of these could have me focused too much on my heartbreaking loss. The pain was searing, and I was frightened that if I spent too much time in it, I’d never get back out. So I tried to avoid the pain by jumping around a lot, moving from task to task, errand to errand, staying busy, trying to avoid burning myself.

At Kaia, we spend one day a week doing yoga. When I started, I was out of shape enough that the flow class was hard, requiring my concentration to stay balanced and in the moment. I spent the bulk of my time just trying to stay on my mat and not think too much, especially when we got to the end of class and went into savasana for 2-3 minutes, and I was left alone with my thoughts. It was as though I was playing my own version of “Hot Lava”, and the goal was to protect myself by staying tightly wrapped, on my mat.

Over time, I started to relax little by little. It became less frightening to let go a bit during savasana and see what came up for me. I realized that even if I felt sad, I could manage to sit with the pain, knowing that Coach Natalie would ask us to transition back to the room after a few minutes. I started looking forward to savasana and having that time to think about Jimmy and my mom and my dad. Savasana reminded me that it was okay to take a deep breath, relax and feel whatever I was feeling. To feel grounded to the earth, while breathing out up toward the sky. To feel the pain of losing three people I love so much, knowing at the same time that they were right there with me.

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