I just recently got back from a yoga retreat in Barbados.
It was so nice to get away and chill with my yoga crew in the beautiful surroundings of Barbados. While I was bathed in the serene beauty of the island, I was able to do some deep self-study. As I reflect on my time away, I think to myself how much I have learned and changed through the practice of yoga.
I am finally finding peace. It will be an on-going journey to seek truth and self-awareness, but one I can now do with an open heart. This is the point of the practice, feeling free and surrendering to what will be.
I turned 42 in April, Yikes! For the past 40 years at least, I have been caught up in what other people expect, think and say about me. I have been guided by insecurity and fear. I have even allowed it to seep into to my yoga practice (old habits die hard).
I allowed the comments of others to influence how I felt about myself. These souls who are jealous, petty and insecure themselves cannot define who I am. I wish for them and everyone to find the same peace through yoga that I have.
I have been attracted to teachers who guided me through the asana practice beautifully and taught me wonderful things about myself, but who were also domineering, self-focused and dealing with their own issues. It was these characteristics that perpetuated my insecurities.
It took Anusara Yoga’s fall from grace for me to realize that I was good enough as I am and I needed to stop focusing on what other people thought, or said, about me. We are all entitled to our own judgements and experiences, but we are not entitled to force them on others.
Voicing my insecurities lead me to be stronger—go figure! Examining my shadows has been so empowering. I shared my feelings on elephant journal and that shifted something in me. I allowed myself to be vulnerable and in that I grew stronger.
I am not alone in my feelings of inadequacy whether it’s on my mat or in the world.I tell people all the time to stand in their power and I wasn’t standing in my own. I let other people and other things define me. Not any more…with the power of yoga, I am better able to understand how we impact the world through our thoughts and actions. I have let go of that which doesn’t serve me and I have embraced all the good and not so good aspects of myself that lead me here to this place of peace.
For the first time in a long time I am wearing colors because I want to be seen. I am identifying with my bodacious bountiful yoga body and encouraging others to do the same. I am no longer hiding and apologizing for being black, or big or loud or attention seeking.
I am asking everyone to accept me as I am and in turn accept yourself as you are. Come to the mat as you are, practice with all your heart and share yourself with the world. You have something great to offer!
Focus on the people who love who and don’t spend any more time on the people who don’t.
We need all of you,
Editor: Mel Squarey