As previously featured on Bay Shakti.
(To read in Spanish, click here. (Para leerlo en español, haga clic aquí.))
In 2007 a profound betrayal and subsequent loss of my best friend plunged me into the darkest years of my life.
Despite my anguish, I somehow mustered up the strength to make the bold (or arguably stupid) decision of moving across country to Los Angeles, in part to fight for love, only to find myself rejected and abandoned, jobless, friendless and completely alone. The years that followed can only adequately be described as a truly “dark night of the soul.”
After almost a year of endless tears, sleepless nights and an inability to eat much of substance, almost as an act of desperation, I dragged myself into the neighborhood yoga studio. I had actually been looking for a pilates studio since yoga had always aggravated my rotator cuff in the past, but in a twist of magical synchronicity, the only studio I could find that was walking distance from my apartment was City Yoga, an Anusara yoga studio. “What on earth is Anusara?”, I thought to myself. I’d never heard of it, but decided to give it a try anyway.
That step was the beginning of what would metaphorically save my life. For most of 2008, the only thing that got me out of bed in the morning was the yoga. The people in the studio were so at peace, so Zen, so warm and loving…but I was not. I was drowning in pain and anguish, and as I went through the motions of the different yoga poses, often on the verge of bursting into tears, I found myself wondering if my teachers could sense my sadness. Every day that I went to the yoga studio was an effort. I had to drag myself out of my apartment and force myself into class, despite my incessant feelings of hopelessness.
Then one day, something inside of me started to shift. While I still felt intense grief on the surface, deep inside of me a profound feeling of love was starting to stir. So I kept on going to the yoga. With each class, the powerful feelings that surged within me began to rise further up to the surface, beginning to slowly, but surely push the suffering away. And I began to notice that when we’d chant Om and the Anusara invocation, that my body and spirit would hum. I immediately recognized the value and power of sound mixed with silence and so I began my own meditation practice to supplement the yoga. Further emboldened by the warm and loving energy of the Anusara Kula, I began to soak up the vibrations during our group chanting, letting it wash over me.
I continued to go to yoga, and as many of my fellow Anusara yogis can attest themselves, magic began to unfold. I began to feel strong, full of light, and I began to have a more powerful and profound capacity for love than I’d ever felt before; a type of universal love that I find myself at a loss to explain to people outside of the yoga community. I would leave the studio feeling complete Bliss and as light as air. And as I continued to do the difficult personal work that is both necessary and ultimately enlightening, when one walks through a “dark night of the soul,” I began to feel that I embodied the energy of the Phoenix rising from the ashes. It was palpable. And as is one of the main intentions of Anusara, I knew that I was stepping into the flow of Grace.
Magical things began to happen. I began receiving psychic messages and I received a very powerful epiphany which revealed to me a major insight as to my life’s purpose on this earth. And so I continued to go to yoga. Grace continued to flow and the different aspects of my life all began to align in synchronistic perfection, culminating into the move to my new life in San Francisco. Since that time I have expanded my circle to become part of the wonderful San Francisco Anusara Kula, and with the help and guidance of my wonderful teachers, I continue to expand my awareness and my heart.
In the Anusara I have discovered a “magic bullet.” I now know that no matter what life throws at me, no matter how difficult are the challenges that present themselves, no matter how tragic or debilitating, that I can find peace, strength, harmony and ultimately bliss, through Anusara. Armed with that knowledge, I have risen from the ashes and fly boldly into 2011.