Basically, they were these drills in school where we had to curl tight into a little fetal position ball, preferably under a table, and cover the back of our head/neck.
Today I realized that this is the position I assume when I am absolutely sidelined with grief. Yes, the other day, I was even under a table.
I am fairly confident this is why my back hurts so much, it's because even when I'm not in the duck and cover, I'm cowering, my heart protected, my shoulders up by my ears, my arms wrapped across my body or my knees pulled in tight.
As a yoga teacher, it is the antithesis of what I worked to cultivate in my body - an open heart, a lifted chest, a strong yet supple spine. Instead, my heart is constantly hidden, closed off from anyone around me. My chest is sunken. My spine is rounded, rigid, and tight.
I've survived some mighty earthquakes out here in CA. 1989 in Northern California, 1994 in LA. In neither case, though I found myself barely able to stand through the rumbling and tumbling of the earth, did I think to Duck and Cover. I stood in a doorway. I grabbed my roommates hands during the LA quake, as we screamed "We're going to die! We're going to die!" for what felt like at least a few minutes of shaking.
And now, my world has been shaking for fourteen weeks. And I've finally learned to Duck and Cover. Protect my vital organs from the walls that are sure to crumble more, close my eyes tight, and beg for the quake to stop.
(My therapist, my massage therapist, my chiropractor will all tell me this is not the best anatomical position for my health right now. I know. I think I am officially in survival mode, though, and I'm doing the only thing I can.)