Lately, I've been reminded of how every encounter in my life has led me to love. Raw love. The experiences I was once ashamed of, the encounters I thought were by chance, the hardships, the victories... all of it. It has led me to where I am. In fact, those times when I thought I was at rock bottom, were the most significant. It's so interesting how things play out. Being at your worst is actually a really good place to be, because you have no where to go but up. We are all our own worst critic. I am the first person to identify that. Being in Darren and Christina's immersions and teacher trainings have carried me through aspects of myself that I never knew needed attention. I signed up to study with them to be a better student of yoga, to refine my craft as a yoga teacher. Don't get me wrong, I have learned invaluable information from both of them about teaching and doing asana (the poses). However, with their guidance, I have learned how to fully love myself and open to loving others fully. When I met Darren and Noah in LA at an advanced intensive in December of 2009, I had no idea my life was about to change. I signed up for the immersion with Darren and Christina in 2010. From that point on, I have been continuously invited to be authentic in my own skin. Don't get me wrong, my family has invited me to do so my entire life. But, for whatever reason, I was resistant until that point. Maybe it was being in an environment of others who were attempting to do the same, or maybe it was just a matter of maturity. Either way, things shifted when I started coming to Tuscon to study with Darren and Christina. They displayed a way of raw living that I was ready for in terms of my own life. There is something about relating asana practice to living your life that really hit home for me. Tying your effort on the mat to your effort in being authentically YOU really stuck.
And, so it goes. I would leave the trainings in Tucson and come home to practice, practice, practice. Practice working hard. Practice speaking my truth. Practice being me. And, not to my surprise, the yoga has worked! I can honestly say, I feel more in my own skin than ever before. Don't get me wrong, the work is not yet complete. But, I feel so happy and content with where I am at on this path of yoga... this path of being. As Roxanne would say, YOGA IS THE SHIT! I have never loved the way I am able to love now, ever before. Love myself, which turns into real love for others, which turns into love for life! I know, this can seem all "happy, peace to all and hippie bullshit." But, as someone who is fully committed to the path as a yogi (aka: the path of being yourself), I am here to tell you, IT IS WORTH IT. In fact, my mission is to bring yoga to the everyday, "normal" person. So that the teachings of yoga (tools) are available to more people. Yoga is worthwhile. The teachings are passed on orally. Meaning, you have to commit to yourself and dedicate yourself to the ups and downs to make progress. You have to keep showing up to learn the teachings in person. Yoga is meant to be learned in the great company of others.
One of the things that changed for me was fully committing. Once I fully committed to myself and my truth, everything shifted. Its a tall order. Commit to my strengths, and fully acknowledge what I am good at. Commit to what challenges me, and embrace where I need to work harder. Practice, practice, practice. Its not easy. But, its not meant to be. If asana was easy, we would have all done all the poses on our first try. Most importantly, being myself. When I can engage with that aspect of myself, everything changes. Its not that life it supposed to be perfect or easy. Its more that life is hard. And those hardships have helped me get to know myself on a deeper level. When you know yourself, you can offer so much more.
Another aspect of this path as a yogi is community. You cannot do it alone. And, you don't need to. As human beings, we strive to be recognized. The people I surround myself with are key to me being me. Mostly because the more "me" I am, the more I let people in to love me. Rather than being the "me" that I think I should aspire to be. Emphasis: raw truth = love. The thing is, I was only hiding from myself. the vulnerable I became (and continue to become) the more I let people in. The more I let people in, the more I am loved and the more I love. This has been major breakthrough for me! Take my relationship for example, the more I reveal my truth as a person to Alexis, the closer we become. The closer we become, the more he loves me and the more I love him. This is powerful stuff, not to mention long-lasting. Love is intense. There is no question about it. Nothing about real love is casual. Nothing about real love is effortless. The more I put in, the more I get back. It seems simple, but its a life's work. Its on-going. Relate it to asana, for example. Do you really think you are going to get your leg behind your head if you don't work toward getting there?! Good luck! And, I say that with compassion, because without practice and dedication, its impossible to advance your asana practice. Same as off the mat. If I don't practice being my authentic self, how can anyone really love me?! The practice has been an amazing tool for me. Its not easy to do all the poses. But, guess what... its not easy for anyone... not Mr. Iyengar who was broken when he started practicing, not for Darren Rhodes who had a spine shaped like an S when he started practicing. Its hard work to be yourself and accept that person fully. Its hard work to get your feet to the floor in viparita shalabhasana. I am not there yet, but I hope some day (with a LOT of practice) I will be. And, if not, I trust that I will still be a very good, dedicated, hard-working, expression of a true yogin. One who has dedicated my life to being true to myself. Asana is a huge tool and a gift.
So, here is where I am at...
Love is intense.
Love is true.
Love is challenging.
Love is knowing and accepting yourself 100%.
Love is surrounding yourself with people who make you feel at home.
Love is being raw.
Love is being vulnerable.
Love is truth.
Love it the pathway to you heart.
Love is hard work.
Love is YOU.
Before I become too vulnerable to post this blog, I am going to publish this post. Thank you to everyone who has played a role in my path. Love to all my encounters... good, bad, ugly and beautiful. I love the love I am experiencing today. I love the love that is yet to come.
with a full heart and gratitude,