A miracle has happened. A real life miracle.
What’s more, I can see it for what it really is, no more or less, than a miracle.
I have woken up and found the light at the end of the yogic tunnel.
I started out on my yogic adventure about three and a half years ago now. At first, it was just one class a week with the aim of increasing my fitness. This grew into a love of my weekly class and a longing for Monday nights when I could embrace myself in my yoga glow.
From here, my adventure picked up pace as I left my hometown and moved away from all my old habits, negative patterns and unhealthy relationships and friendships. I realised that sometimes even our nearest and dearest friends can be detrimental to our well being and we can find ourselves in an unhealthy relationship with someone that we love dearly.
Sometimes distance is the only cure.
Sometimes you need to break free.
I upped my game—started practicing three times a week, delving into the Yoga Sutras and reading a little more philosophy. I started looking at my self, my life, my patterns, my addictions, my aversions; I started looking at me. About this time, I realized the “me” I was looking at didn’t have to be the me I was tomorrow.
Of course, it isn’t an easy process. It doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t just cut away from everything, (and harder still, everyone) you have in your life. Family can’t just be tossed to one side and abandoned, even if they are the root of most of your issues.
Yet, by changing the way that you do things, you can allow a new person to grow inside.
You can change they way that you see people, you can shift your perspective and start looking at things a little differently, you can try to see things from their side and not just react from the emotional place that you always react from. You can change the way that you interact with them, which in turn will change the way they interact with you, (actually thinking about it –this is a miracle inside a miracle).
So anyway, I started to see things from a different view point. I jumped on board the yoga band wagon and set off.
I ran away to India. I started practicing every day, I became devoted to my practice, I learned about detachment in my practice. I learned the fine line between listening to your body and listening to your mind. I challenged myself, I fought, I lost, I won and then I let it all go.
I dug deep into my hip sockets, into my lumbar spine and I started to release all the things that were hidden away down in the darkest depths of my body.
My world fell apart. My confidence fell apart. My defense mechanisms fell apart. My walls came crumbling down. My identity left me. My “being” dissolved.
I was totally lost, weak, vulnerable and all on my own.
I had left everything that was “normal” to me. Everything that was familiar. Everything that was comfortable, everything that was comforting.
I didn’t know who I was any more. I couldn’t relate to the “old” me and I didn’t quite fit into the “new” me. I didn’t have any one standing by my side, encouraging or supporting me. I didn’t have anyone who understood. I didn’t have anyone period.
I had cut myself off from everyone and everything. My old friends didn’t come and visit. My family were busy with their own lives and their own stuff.
I was out on a limb.
I walked around for months wondering what I was doing. Wondering why I was putting myself through this torture. Wondering when it would end. Wandering through life wondering what to do. I cried on my mat. I cried on my own. I cried in class.
I was beginning to think that yoga didn’t make you strong, that it had made me a shadow of my former self. I was no fun anymore. My life was pretty dull. I was a nobody. And then out of nowhere, the light at the end of the yogic tunnel began to shine.
One day, I felt so low that I didn’t want to even go to class. I called my bendy friend who I was meeting for a coffee and said that I wasn’t going. He quickly talked me out of it. Normally, when I get upset I like to hide. I don’t like to make a spectacle of myself and I dislike crying in public, yet today was different. Today, I reached out instead of turning in and shutting down.
I went to the coffee shop where we always meet, and still teary eyed, put on my brave solider face. We had coffee, I pretended that I was okay and then we went to class.
I got through most of my practice and then, right at the end, in savasana I felt the waves of sadness hit me once more. I felt my eyes well up and I crumbled, desperately trying not to let anyone see or hear my snuffles.
I closed my eyes and tried to disappear. My teacher, an incredibly perceptive and wise man, came over and sat by me. He gently touched my arm and whispered gentlet words to me. I couldn’t even make out what the words were, but I could feel them. They washed over me like gentle waves lapping at the shore. They comforted me, they eased my pain. They slowly bought me back from my dark tunnel where I had been hiding. They reconnected me to where I was. To who I was. To what it was that I was trying to achieve. To what I was actually doing on my mat.
Yoga is about connection—connecting your mind, body and spirit. Connecting you to life’s great energy. Connecting you to those around you. Connecting you to the universal love that states we are all one. Connecting you to you inner self, your true self. Connecting.
After class my teacher spoke some of his many words of wisdom to me. He told me about disengaging through disassociation. How we can get lost sometimes if we go too inward, if we go off on the self indulgent path of self-over-analysis, if we reflect too much. If we start to cut ourselves off from life we start to not take part in it.
Ashtanga is an eyes open practice; we practice being present, aware, engaged.
He asked me if I had been closing my eyes during practice and I realized that I had. He said that this was the most common indication that you were disassociating and thus explained the effects the practice was having on me.
I was going too inward. I was going the wrong way. No wonder it felt like I was paddling upstream. I needed to turn around, to consciously make an effort to change direction.
The next day during my practice, I opened my eyes.
I practiced being present, being the new me.
I got myself a new mantra “I am happy, I am strong, I am safe, I am well.”
I began to reconnect.
I walked around my garden staring at nature, in awe of the life that surrounded me. I stood staring at the thistles that had outgrown me in the space of a month. I concentrated on dew drops and looked into the power of being small and delicate. I watched blades of grass spring back after they had been trampled, showing no sign of damage. I studied spiders weaving webs. I smiled as a butterfly flitted through the field as if it belonged everywhere and had the freedom to go anywhere it wanted.
I walked around and around in circles in awe and amazement. I could learn everything I needed to learn about life right here in my back garden.
I no longer felt alone. I felt part of this wonderful miracle that we call life.
Laura Grace is an avid Ashtanga practitioner. She did the India thing and then trained at Ashtanga Yoga Paris. She is also trained in Ayurvedic massage. She currently teaches in and around Devon and writes regular blog posts. She is busy learning how to manifest anything in life that she wants: believing in dreaming big and chasing the dream until it become reality. She commits random acts of kindness and treats strangers like friends she hasn’t met yet. She is loving her adventure on the yogic path and is enjoying the fact that she doesn’t know where it will take her next. You can contact her at [email protected]
Editor: Thaddeus Haas
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