The journey of life, the ups and downs, it is all part of who we are. On the yoga mat, there is a dance with struggle. With pain, with fear, with the unknown, the broken, the hurt, and the sweetness. Different poses evoke different emotions.
Yoga forced me to look at myself in the mirror. To face the cloud of sadness that flooded my soul. Looking into my own eyes in a mirror felt completely uncomfortable until it didn’t. I had to push through the awkwardness and the struggle.
The first five days of a three-week yoga retreat on the island of Grenada, my instructor kept adjusting my posture in downward dog. My rib cage, core, and shoulders hurt more than I ever remember in my life. Privately practicing in my cabana at night, tears streamed down my face. I could not get this pose. On the sixth day, my instructor said, “You are not supporting yourself. If you don’t take care of you, who will?”
Somehow I made a connection, and my body started adjusting. The internal struggle was real. And that is when I knew yoga was not about my mat. It was about understanding who I was. Accepting who I was. Loving my curves. Loving my scars. Loving myself. And then sharing my gifts.
Yoga was never about getting the stretch, it was about comforting and healing my heart. Letting go of my pain. My fear. My complexities of who I was because of the story society told me I should be.
I came to realize the missing links inside of me and learned that the only way to heal my broken self was through my personal self-care. I had to let go of the negative and learn to say:
“I am beautiful.”
“I am love.”
“I am grace.”
And the most important, “I love myself.”
I had followed blindly inside the box of the structured belief system I was told I should have. The yoga started poking breathing holes into my box. Light started appearing, and I could taste more.
I had to let go of the story that I should have been a certain way. Yoga grounded me, helping me find my inner peace. It connected me to my strengths, and my weaknesses, allowing me to focus on my consciousness. Bringing my energy to good in my life, and releasing the negative.
Releasing the negative also released things and people from my life that were not part of my healed consciousness. It brought about change and the thirst for more knowledge of the things I loved. Translating into a thirst for life, adventure, and connection.
Yoga was my personal eat, pray, love journey of discovering myself and the connection of my gifts and life experiences to find my joy.
I am not a “yogi”. Sometimes I meditate, run, do yoga, take a hike in nature, or dip my toes in the sand and water on a beach. And often I take a flight to surf above the clouds. The practice of yoga is really about bringing everything together for oneness and stillness to become an observer of who you are. When I am in a place of stillness, I observe, which leads to discovery. Discovery provides an opportunity for change, and change leads to connecting wholeheartedly.
I saved my life from cancer, relationships that did not align with my soul, and the pain I brought on myself. I cleared the clouds, to soar to the sky. Surfing above the clouds, I was reminded to give myself daily nourishment of self-love. We are not the stories we tell ourselves, or that others tell of us. Understanding this, broke down the walls of the box, and my stories, providing peace.
Self-love opened my heart, allowing me to live in a world without confinement.
Whatever your Yoga is, you can breathe new life, with love. Seek the place where your oneness can be nurtured, and you to can be soulful.