September 11th, 7:52pm: Just made express train to Croton from the city. Phew.
As the train pulled out of Grand Central, I am still illuminated with the healing energy released from participating in Yoga for the Fallen: 9/11 Memorial Practice in Ritz Plaza’s Fireman’s Memorial Park. I arrived at the park early. The entrance of the park was flanked by two wreaths filled with red, white and blue flowers and ribbons that stated “In Remembrance of September 11th” In the center of the intimate park, a small pool with a waterfall cascading down a black marble memorial. The memorial was engraved with golden letters citing the names of the 15 firefighters lost from Engine 54, Ladder Company 4, the fire company that lost the most firefighters in 9/11. Pink yoga mats were spread in a semicircle in front of a small, elevated stage where two people sat - a representative from the organizing sponsor and teacher, Paula of Reflections studio.
September concerts provided live music. The class was a mixture of beautiful prayers, release and remembrance. Paula began with her own heartfelt story. As a child, she had lost both of her parents a few years apart from one another. Instead of wallowing in self pity, she faced each day and did what she could to make her parents proud, and bring forth her strength, love and energy to others. Each day she asked herself, how can I make myself a better person? As the practice unfolded, we reached for the sky, we opened our hearts and looked inside to find how we could move past any feelings of self pity and pain. To tap into that personal power and strength to face every day. Yes, not all days are easy, we are human, Paula said. Nobody is perfect. But everyone can try.
Throughout the class, assistants would provide a light adjustment or touch, to guide participants softly to open to grace. My body felt awakened, alive, and ready to move forward.
I walked away from the class with the thought that every day we rise up to meet the day, move forward and bring forth our gifts to help enrich ourselves, and to make the most of the time we have with others, honoring the spirits of those we have lost.
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Elisha Fernandes Simpson RYT, teaches prenatal, kids (ages 3 -18) yoga and organizes free weekly yoga classes for women with breast cancer. See laughing hearts yoga for more.