This story begins last Friday night at Yoga Teacher Training. It was a delicious practice of hip openers, dim lights and Katie’s soothing voice talking us through deep, long held stretches on our backs. A practice which appeared should be simple, yet in turn was difficult for me.
Quickly I found keeping my foot against the wall for support impossible. My leg positions not where I would like them. My hip popping out of alignment as I forced my body where I thought it should be instead of where it belonged. My mind wandering to “What have you let this body become? You use to be able to stretch more. Remember your dancing body and how flexible it was? Where did it go? Have you cared for your body at all? What have you been doing with your time?” The monkey mind was cruel. I felt uncomfortable (as my body was already dealing with aches and pains I brought to class, on top of the ego bullying going on). I was desperately seeking my sacred place usually found with ease on my yoga mat – my sanctuary. But tonight the usual practice of yoga – mind, body and spirit was at best disconnected.
Feeling defeated driving home, my ego continued to berate me until an outpouring of tears brought it to an abrupt end. Emotionally cracked wide open I reminded myself that I AM what I AM. I must dig deep to love my body the way it is right now. Letting go of the past and forgiving myself for what I did or didn’t do. As I continued driving I remembered the empty house awaiting my arrival (not even a smiling yorkipoo to greet me as she has gone for sleepovers too on this busy week-end). No one there to share kind words, a hug, a smile or an “I love you”. Here I realized I must love myself and that had to be enough. The love of another has no meaning if I do not love myself first. This love is much deeper and more profound than any I will feel from another. This is the unconditional love of self. From this moment on I can no longer go back to that place of emptiness and alone. Knowledge keeps me from this place. Knowledge has taken me to a place greater than I have ever imagined before. Tonight a new journey of love begins within me where deep peace is found. My arrival home found me emotionally spent, exhausted and ready for bed.
Saturday morning brought a feeling of heaviness and fog. Determined to move through this to a lighter place I spent my hour drive to Hamilton with positive self-talk, love and reassurance of an amazing day to come and that is exactly what happened. I found myself in Steve’s hot yoga class hearing exactly what I needed to. Validation of self love from the teary yet, enlightened drive home the night before. He spoke of honouring our bodies. Breathing through the experience of each pose only taking the body to where it wanted to be. Not forcing, but allowing yourself to be present. Listening to what your body was saying, what your breath was saying, what your practice was saying. Deepening awareness. Bringing my practice back to that sacred place I know and love. The class left me sweaty, balanced and loving me deeply once again. I was ready for another day of teacher training.
This theme continued through the day’s YTT class and into Sunday’s too with the words of each teacher and even my fellow classmates. I am grateful for the connection between us all, a freedom felt allowing for honesty and authenticity amongst the group. A place sharing of self occurs. A place where I feel not as alone on my inward journey.
Later this week as I spoke of my experience with a yogi friend, she shared some interesting information about the poses of my Friday night-crack-me-wide-open yoga class. As I hope you know, yoga is more that exercise. Each asana also affects our subtle or spiritual body as well. Our back is our spiritual side or universal consciousness which was being allowed to rest in this practice. Our front is our emotional side or individual consciousness being exposed during practice. Finally, we hold a lot of emotion in our hips, so doing hip openers allows for the emotions to be released and stretched out of us. Everything was making even more sense. Everyone said yoga teacher training would crack you wide open emotionally and no one was kidding!
Although this may seem like a fairy tale ending, I know this is going to be maybe one of the hardest legs of the journey because with knowledge comes power and with power comes responsibility. A responsibility to myself to always love me unconditionally. The power to share this incredible lesson with others, especially my children. This knowing allows me to move forward never looking back at the place of emptiness and alone I once lingered in. With love of myself I no longer visit there. This love doesn’t guarantee life will always be sparkles and rainbows, but it does promise love in the darkest of moments and in the brightest of moments. It will always be there, I just need to remember. So do you!