While I knew it would have an impact on my life physically, I really had no idea what an impact it would make on my life emotionally. When you think of yoga training, you immediately assume you will be moving through sun salutations and sweating it out in downward dog. But, as it turns out, the asanas (or the yoga poses) are only one small part of the yoga system. Yoga is so much more than downward dog.
When I arrived for week two of yoga training, I was geared up and ready to sweat. Okay, I thought, pump the music up and let’s get this yoga party started. But to my disappointment, I watched as instead of moving we were told to sit. Sit and breathe. Both of those things don’t come naturally to me. I can sit, but I would much rather move. I can breathe, but I would much rather hold my breath. I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I like things to keep moving. If I stay still too long I feel like the earth is going to stop spinning.
My teachers Moses and Zeina have done something wonderful for me: they have showed me it’s okay to stop moving. The world will not stop spinning, in fact it will move more beautifully than ever before.
In life we move so fast we forget to breathe. We move so fast we forget to sit, to go within, to listen to our inner voice. The first week of training we sat in a silent meditation for 5 and a half hours. It forced me to confront feelings I had pushed down. It also gave me insight into the world and how we are all connected.
This week in teacher training we participated in a workshop to unveil the inner child. Everyone has pain, everyone has a struggle, but I thought my pain was well and truly gone. I expected nothing to come from the workshop because I’ve already been in therapy, written about it, participated in my own healing activities. But the funny thing about the subconscious is, it can easily fool you. You can talk yourself into thinking everything is gone, even when it lurks there.
Pain manifests itself in your body, in your muscles, in your soul. It sits and sits, causing stress, causing toxic build up, and this can eventually lead to disease and even cancer. We hold the pain in our body and pretend that it went away. We tell ourselves we are fine. We tell ourselves we’re too strong to cry.
Until you find yourself lying on the floor crying like a little baby. And boy do you realize how much pain you’ve held inside.
Lying there, surrounded by people that I know love me even though I’ve only met them, was a humbling and spirit-shifting experience. Never have I felt more weak and more strong exactly at the same time. I felt like a pain lifted from my heart and I could suddenly breathe and sit and lay and be still without discomfort.
I realized that the little girl that I was had never gone away. I saw her eyes and I saw into her soul. She had been here with me in my heart all along.
I heard my inner child singing and breathing and moving. It was beautiful.
The next day, Zeina led a goddess circle and my intense weekend was brought full circle. I saw myself as the powerful, spiritual, sensual goddess that I am. And I realized how many women stop themselves from seeing that true light. Somehow we are told it is wrong to be sensual to be in touch with our feminine power. We hide the goddess and walk the earth as down trodden, wenches.
Wench I am not! Goddess divine I am!
We danced and chanted and lived life. 30 women in a room rediscovering who they always were and sending a moon beam of positivity out into the universe. It was the perfect way to close the weekend.
Because it wasn’t a closure at all- it was only the beginning for me. I awakened something I had shut off for so many years, suppressing the true Self and living a life not true to my heart.
So begins a new journey for me, to bring others to the light and work to carry the beauty of the universe to show it to others. And this is yoga. Because yoga is so much more than downward dog.