At the age of twenty-one, I was diagnosed with cancer. The path to health was messy at best and seemed to be one without any sense of grace. I experienced days, weeks, and months on end of pain and complications and tears and tears and tears.
I thought of all of the things I SHOULD have done to miraculously avoid the diagnosis. I thought of what I SHOULD do to obtain an illness-free future. I thought what I WOULD do differently if only I COULD soften the weight of illness, sadness, and suffering.
Shoulda’ Woulda’ Coulda’. It was not until I found the practice of my breath and body that these three little words began to lose their hold on my perspective. Yoga escorted me into the dark and bright spaces of my own experience. The poses asked me to see how I respond to myself and others, how I view the word “strength”, and what I was willing to accept as the truth of my story, perspective, hopes, and dreams.
Yoga invites us to participate fully with our own sense of personal resonance, health and wellbeing. Down Dog does not take away the pain of personal evolution; rather it asks us to explore on an ever-deepening level exactly what is at stake in every breath, moment, movement, and response to stressful or joyous stimuli. It asks us to choose, to learn to respond rather than react – in spite of what we SHOULD have, WOULD have, or COULD have done differently.
So the next time you feel like sitting and shaming yourself with a SHOULDA’, WOULDA’, COULDA’; realize that you are already there, here. Choose. Choose to participate and welcome yourself into your very own life!
Shannon Paige Schneider is an author, sacred activist, inspired life coach, and dedicated teacher of Shiva Rea’s Prana Flow Vinyasa Yoga. She interweaves her students’ unique purpose driven inspiration into the divine play of body and breath to unlock the secret wisdom held within the heart. Shannon is the founder and yoga director of om time yoga centers and Anjali Restorative Yoga. Shannon recently taught a Zobha – sponsored Breast Cancer Awareness class to raise awareness, energy, and the vibration of health and wellness for those affected by a diagnosis of cancer. To learn more about Shannon and where she will be teaching next, go to her blog.