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Yoga Class

Balance is hard.

Standing on my right foot and my ankle reminds me

that it held up the weight of my body

plus 8 other bodies

plus the fluid that invariably collects

plus the weight

of the childhood trauma I experienced.

My ankles held





We shift to the left foot

and that ankle takes up the story

where the right ankle left off. 

This foot adds in the bit

about the tiny foot bones

that get spiral fractures

with too much use. 

But what is too much use? 

My body is telling me

it has used up

more than

one normal lifetime of experience.

We fold ourselves up over the left foot,

center the hips ,he says,

and find your sweet spot. 

My hips are wide, open, competent carriers

of heavy heavy loads.

But the core between them

is mush. 

The core of my womanhood

that holds the uterus

that held 8 tiny humans

and then pushed them into this world. 

I’m done, it says.

I’ve done my job.

Stop pushing me.

The only bits left to come out

are the very parts of me

that held on

so 8 humans could have life.  

Foot down,

in front,

leg back

and now we are on the floor,

opening into a pose whose center of balance is

the cocyx

that holds on to arthritis like a badge of honor. 

I cannot even try that pose

in honor of my tailbone

that was crushed beneath the weight of eight babies formed.

Enough it says.

I’ve given enough.  

It is time, I reply,

for me to give to you. 

To the tailbone I give you rest. Much deserved rest. 

Thank you for holding the ends together of

every step I’ve taken,

every child I’ve carried,

every seat I’ve sat upon.

And fold in and over to the side,

and up into a new pose that stretches the knees. 

The knees

that have carried the weight of this too-heavy body,

each pregnancy building more heaviness upon the last. 

Triggered nights and anxious days

fed by constant snacking.

The back of the left knee is in nearly constant pain now. 

But I never know if the pain

is a cry for attention diverted from my growing heart

or for a cry for attention that may require an actual doctor. 

Gently, I tell it.

Let’s stretch together gently

and see

if stretching is what you need. 


Years of unbending,

of demanding things a certain way to maintain control over the unpredictability of triggers

and the insane demands of the mental health of others

and the chaos of many young children

with needs piled



of needs. 

We no longer need to be in control all the time.

We can experience the joy

of flexibility.

So now, my dear knees, we bend together. 

We breathe together.

I listen to your story and I encourage you to bend,

to try,

to stretch,

to breathe.  

Together we can unwind,

my body

and me. 

Together we can unwind the stories wound into my joints and organs

and breath. 

The stories that tightened knots in my core

no longer elicit emotional responses

but my body

still remembers them. 

My body

seeks to rest,

not stretch itself.

My body

seeks to protect,

to hide,

to threaten being too brittle to be used any longer. 

But I will not allow it. 

I still need you, my love. 

We have far to go

and places to see

and people to love

and breath to breathe

and sky to fly in. 


So gently,

so gently,

I will stretch you

and challenge you

and breathe into your core

and balance on your rolling instability

and honor your story. 

With every breath

and every stretch

and every movement

this is my promise to you -

I will honor your story.

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