Editor’s Note: Spirits, ghosts, memories are things veterans and their families live with long after they have been through war. They can be vexing, or comforting, can get someone stuck, or motivate a person to go on. WWI veteran and poet Siegfried Sassoon found healing by writing about the memories of war extensively. From On Scratchbury Camp:
“Shadows outspread in spacious movement, always you
Have dappled the downs and valleys at this time of year”
What follows is a story from Charlie’s years as a yoga instructor in the Santa Monica area of Southern California. A vital, active, gifted teacher who comes from a sports background, veterans can also find him teaching online classes at Yogis Anonymous, in person at YogaWorks, and on his blog, Yoga Rap with Charlie Samos.
Yoga can be so amazing. Years ago, I had a mom and a daughter practice with me each weekend. They would arrive, set up side by side, and enjoy the time together. I always felt honored to be part of their relationship in this special way. Both beautiful souls. Then tragedy struck, and the daughter was gone.
I attended the funeral, and knew that this was the worse thing for a parent. I supported as best I could, which was really nothing. The mom and I stay in touch, and she knows I love her.
Fast forward to this weekend. The mom’s twin sister comes into class. She introduces herself, and I tell her we have met twice before, and joke that I have kissed her cheek twice. She hugs me, and takes class both weekend days. On day two, I notice that she lays her mat in the exact spot where her niece use to practice. Both days, crowded room, same spot. I find it interesting, nothing more at first. Then, as I walk around her during class, I realize I can feel an energy. I assume I am just imagining it, and let it go. Finally, we come to Shavasana. I pass by her again, and can feel a presence. I notice her crying, and realize she’s feeling her niece –with no idea that she’s in the exact spot where her niece once practiced. So I hold her for a bit, then decide that instead of returning to the front of the room to end class, I would sit just near her and embrace this spirit that was finally returning to me.
I began to weep, but knew it was good. I got through the end class and realized that the practice can truly open up our hearts to things unknown, and unseen.
Do not underestimate the healing that yoga can bring. Love will always find the way.