I have found yoga to be a crucial tool that has acted like an anchor in a storm as my life has seen some dark days over the last few weeks. Last month, I lost my father suddenly and for me the world as I knew it changed. It was my birthday and oddly I was carefully gluing broken parts of a flower vase together at a kintsugi workshop when I received a phone call from my mother who explained shakily about the critical state of my father. For some time, my father and I were not in contact and I realised I hadn't called him or asked him how he was in a long time. I was too busy with my life! 

yogadad

After this upsetting call I rushed to my apartment, packed my bag and and began to travel home to Poland to see my father and be with my family. As soon as I arrived it was too late to speak with him, he was already asleep in a coma.  Arghhh! The following days felt long and full of emotion. My family and I were by his bed non stop.  A week later, he slipped away and died peacefully and painlessly during the night. I felt despair. 

At first I could not stop thinking that this was just a bad dream and I would wake up from it finally. When travelling to Poland I would imagine the conversation with my father and would rehearse it. I imagined we would talk and would be closer to him. I had missed this and the regret came to me time after time as bad dreams. I would awake realising it was not a bad dream and I had missed those last conversations with him, to get closer and say goodbye, I had left it too late. 

I could not carry on with this mindset and had to stop my mind from replaying unsaid conversations.  During this time I had stopped my yoga and meditation practice. It was time to get back on the mat. I normally do strong and powerful yoga asanas but I instinctively found myself doing very slow yin style yoga practice.  Holding basic yoga poses for longer than I ever would. I would just take my time, not to rush, just to be in the posture. While in the pose I would allow myself to grieve and carry thoughts of my dear Dad.  In my heart and in my mind, and that he is fully with me, wherever I am and whatever I am doing. These slowed down and simplified yoga sequences helped me realise that I needed to keep calm and listen to my intimate realisation - that I can still have that conversation with my Dad. 

No matter where he had to go when and why. In my heart he is with me as he has always been throughout my life. I continue my slowed down yoga practice and during each breath I bless my father and this is my prayer of gratitude to him for bring me to this life and caring for me with all his heart. Thank you dad for being such a wonderful human being and for all the love you gave us!

When life is tough and things are changing around us that we can't control, I recommend to anchor yourself in a gentle spiritual practice. Be present, be the warrior 1, 2 or 3, show up, no matter what is happening around us, see yourself from within and breathe and feel things shift. This is how yoga can help us to find our breath during difficult periods when we feel panicked, despair, regret, hurt and simply overwhelmed. When it feels like there is no air, there is no hope, and things have crumbled around us, lets try to listen to our inner voice, slow down, accept our inner wisdom will provide with the answers.

If you have been through something similar or life has turned dark I invite you to share your experience with me in the comments below.