Yoga means union. A union between body and mind, between the microcosm and the macrocosm, between myself and source.
As a small child, I felt this connection. My earliest memory in this body was as a new baby, lying in an old-fashioned pram being pushed across a car park. “I” was floating above my body and looking down at this picture of my new human existence with my mother and my older sister beside her.
I remember that a couple of years later, numerous times, I would stand at the top of the stairs in my family home, closing my eyes and flying down gracefully from top to bottom, fully at one with the energy I was and able to move myself through the air, feeling divine.
Then life kicked in and the realities of human existence presented themselves—the lessons I am here to learn truly began. My union with the Source remained but my ability to feel it, remember it and know it began to dissipate and my early childhood memories became just silly dreams.
As a young girl very sensitive to her surroundings, I felt pain and emotions deeply. My heart literally hurt when I learned of the suffering of people and animals on the planet. I became a strict vegetarian at age 11 and began focusing more of my thoughts and attention on the wellbeing of other people than on myself.
My parents divorced and I felt weak and vulnerable in the world. I used bulimia as a method to try and feel control, but life became an increasingly difficult task and at 16, and although I was experiencing my first true love, I became very depressed and felt severe pains and shocks through my body that left me exhausted and often unable to walk more than a few steps.
My mother began taking me to yoga classes and although I can barely remember the class itself, I remember lying in Savasana (Corpse Pose) at the end of class and feeling a deep sense of peace and freedom. My mother said she had not seen me so relaxed since I was a baby.
Unfortunately, when I opened my eyes again I became heavy and sad in my body. I stopped yoga, moved away to university and my depression got worse. I became seriously scared of life and so one night, in order to gain control over the uncertainty I felt, I took many prescription drugs and hoped that I would find peace and happiness in a different place.
This period in my life was painful, but I can clearly see now that this was all part of my path, and the learning I needed to experience to guide me back home to my body and my union with Source. I faced death directly and this awakened knowledge of my reason for being.
I desired only to love. Slowly but surely, I began to live my truth and every moment in fullness. I was propelled in a different direction in life and after completing a film course at university, I bought a camera and moved to Cambodia to work as a filmmaker in the human rights field, documenting underrepresented communities and using video as tool to share their suppressed stories and unheard voices with the world.
I helped establish a charity to help children who worked as garbage pickers on a toxic rubbish dump and knew I had to live to serve others and support them in finding a more peaceful path in their lives. The three years I spent in Cambodia was very challenging and I witnessed some horrific things through my work. I had to become very tough and questioned the idea and existence of God. I was defensive and angry inside and still on the search for inner peace.
In 2009 I took a voluntary placement in Thailand, to train Burmese refugees in advocacy video production, and it is here where I found yoga again. I first began taking classes to make myself fit but then also began feeling large amounts of direct, flowing energy through my body when I was in particular yoga asanas (postures).
I couldn’t figure out why these feeling occurred and as most my classes were in the Thai language I was surely missing some communication! After a year or so of regular yoga and trying different classes, I could only associate these feelings with yoga and meditation. As they became more powerful, I became calmer, healthier and stronger in my body and mind.
I continued to embrace my practice and was called (like so many) to India to further explore and deepen my spiritual practice in yoga and meditation. I spent a month in the Himalayas with Agama yoga and completed the intensive Level 1 yoga course.
This course changed my life. When I moved through the asanas and meditated in posture I experienced stillness in my breath that I can only describe as a divine dance and it united me again with Source. I learned how to love and appreciate my body, how to fully embrace being in it whilst staying connected to higher consciousness.
I learned how to use and direct the energy I had been feeling in my practice and I felt a deep knowing that I am connected with all energy. I gained control of my life again as I realized that only I can influence my world. Everything I need and all the answers I desire can be discovered within myself. Furthermore, I can be truly fulfilled if I stay connected to love and light.
I returned to Thailand and extended my placement as a volunteer, continuing my own practice of the Hatha yoga that I had learned from Agama and then completed the Level 2 course in Koh Phangan a few months later. My practice excelled again–delving deeper and learning hard and fast, battling with all sorts but finding nothing but love at the end of it.
I laugh at myself at how closed I was in life—with people, in love, in body, in mind, in “me,” and how I had let the constraints of life disconnect me from my highest good.
Of course I have a long way to go, but I am working on it as much as I can and keeping my shoulders back, opening my heart for the world, breaking through personal boundaries and seeing beauty in everything and everyone with fresh eyes.
The more open I become, the more nature shows her true self and blesses me with miracles. There is nothing to be afraid of! Divine love is truly healing.
I desire to share what I have found on my journey with others and know I am being encouraged by the universe to accept this incredible adventure through life with love and gratitude. I feel joy in teaching others and watching them grow, becoming empowered to take control of their own lives and strive for peace in themselves and in the world.
I continue to work voluntarily so I can give others the opportunity to live their potential regardless of worldly restrictions. If we plant seeds and water them with love then they will grow beautifully and this is what I have found with Agama.
Their teachings go back to the roots of yoga traditions and by learning about the essence of yoga practice I have also gained a deep understanding of myself and in turn I have been able to flourish. I have no doubt that teaching yoga is on my path and you and I will meet at some point along the way.
Katy Bullen has been working as an advocacy filmmaker since 2004, documenting under-represented communities and discriminated peoples in South East Asia, sharing suppressed voices and unheard stories with the world. Since 2009, Katy has been working along the Thailand-Burma border as a volunteer video adviser, offering video production training to Burma’s ethnic minorities who have fled their country after suffering human rights abuses at the hands of Burma’s oppressive military regime. Katy personally suffered for many years with bulimia and depression, however she eventually found solace in yoga, meditation and dance practices. Katy studies esoteric Hatha and tantric yoga in Thailand and it is her dream to gain her yoga teacher certification next year so she can pass on the tools that helped her in the challenges of life. As a volunteer, Katy is unable to provide the course tuition fees and is currently amidst a competition to win a yoga scholarship through Vitality Link. Follow the link below to read Katy’s essay about her personal journey through depression and see how yoga practice changed her life. Please help her to manifest her dream and win the Vitality Link scholarship simply by voting for her here:
Editor: Mel Squarey
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