Sanford and Sums

10559923_10152218824763038_6324198464558348437_n (1)This weekend my wife is taking an adaptive yoga training with Matthew Sanford. Have you heard of him?

“It took a devastating car accident, paralysis from the chest down, and dependence on a wheelchair before I truly realized the importance of waking both my mind and my body.”

I was lucky enough to attend two of the training events with my wife yesterday. I ended up being one of three MS patients who were there, and by that happenstance became one of the training aides for a class of yoga instructors.

“What do you like about having sand bags on your lap?” he asked me when everyone was positioned in a simple stance. I was seated with two sand bags on my lap and one on my feet.

“Because I can feel the floor,” I replied.

“How do you know you’re on the ground otherwise?”

“I trust that I live in the reality I see everyone else living in, and therefore I trust that the floor exists.”

My Wednesday night Adaptive class.

My Wednesday night Adaptive class.

…But, in truth, every Wednesday at our regular adaptive yoga class the floor surprises me. I’m set up in a chair, legs strapped together and sand bags on my lap. Doing this, my legs no longer feel the constant panic of existing in a space they no longer understand. Doing this, my feet feel contact with the ground beneath them.

It is a silence I get to hear in my body once a week. More often than not, the unexpected joy of this quietude will bring tears to my eyes.

I’d had a rough day, and I feel like I can see that in the above photo with Matthew.

“When you say ‘dizzy all the time,’ do you mean ‘dizzy’ like you’ve been spinning in circles and suddenly stopped?”

“All the time, yes.” It is the first time, somehow, I have connected that action as personal metaphor. But all the time, yes. At my best I got off the merry-go-round… a minute or two ago. At my worst I am trapped against the spinning disc of reality’s plane wherein all the pieces you’d normally see and register in a linear fashion are spinning as though kaleidoscope.

It’s amazing what becomes “normal,” isn’t it?

sandbag_-_purple_filled_website_2Coming out of yoga class often feels like coming out of a therapist’s office after a good sob; it always reminds me that I still have a relationship with the parts of my body that feel “offline.” It’s so easy to forget everything that’s part of the package when, before your eyes, the package keeps growing before you’ve finished its unwrapping.

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