This past year, my brother Adam Creasy died shooting Heroin into his arm. Five days before I was set to arrive home to help him celebrate his 30th birthday. A spoon, a tourniquet, a needle and a lighter were found with him. My little brother… he never made it to his next decade. Families struggle deeply with writing obituaries in situations such as this, and it fell on my shoulders to write my brother’s. So, just two days after he died, in shock I put my fingers to my keyboard as I am doing now and wove the story of a sensitive 29 year old who loved Neil Diamond, who had a knack for gaming and the most beautiful blue eyes you would ever know.
After Adam’s tragic passing I simply went numb for awhile. Then came the tears and the drowning. Then came the memories and the swimming. I felt as if I would drown. After an extended period in which I avoided my mat, an expanse where I averted meeting the sadness and grief by which I was plagued, I began to shift into anger and frustration. Eventually, I got reacquainted with yoga, my beloved and the alchemy I knew. There it was again for me, as so many times before. And, there I was… floating. Somehow. Often for just a flicker, a moment. Not masking his death or diminishing my grief, but afloat again in the awareness of myself, the (re)awakening of sensation and the freedom of my own breath. So why did I wait? What took me so long?
As a yoga instructor, often I know exactly what I need, and that’s why I don’t do it. It’s so much easier to get in front of a class and guide my students to their edge – to invite them to release and let their emotions flow. The motion of our breath and body and the tears to shift the energy are essential. Yet there I was frozen, motionless. I wish I had returned to my practice sooner despite the immense weight of the vulnerability and the fear of such an over all encompassing sadness. Upon reconnecting with my practice, immediately I knew it was precisely the life raft I needed.
My brother didn’t want to die or plan to die that Saturday morning. Addiction is not a choice it is an illness, and an overdose is NOT suicide, it’s a tragedy. Each of us has something in our arsenal to heal, to shift the narrative… to create awareness. I have yoga, my ability to ignite change on the mat for myself and for others.
In the wake of my family’s tragedy and the reoccurring tragedies happening around the globe, I ponder why it is that we shrink from that space and place where our vulnerabilities pool. How might my personal experience and my role as a yoga instructor inform or serve others in their aversion? As we collectively pulse such deep sadness and frustration in witness to what is happening to our brothers and sisters, I’m convinced that now is the time to remember and honor our interconnectedness. Today. Let us all get back to our mats and float together to thaw our frozen emotions and to thin the fog. Now more than ever for the greater good, we need clear minds in order to see the interconnected truth of our shared humanity. With International Yoga Day upon us, let’s be the change. Let’s unite with yogis in our studios and sanghas. Let’s welcome new faces. Let’s build classes with this very intention. We don’t need pageants. Our offerings simply need to burst from our broken hearts and souls. We as teachers have the means to provide many with that flotation device. Let’s not drown together nor pull one another under. Let’s float… together.
Sienna Creasy, a Certified Prana Flow Yoga Instructor for over 11 years and assistant to Shiva Rea, is the founder of Root2Rise Retreats in Jamaica lives in Jamaica. She is the Spa Director and Wellness coordinator for Island Outpost Hotels. Learn more about the author through her website.