I was desperately afraid of connecting to my body, and I ignored the voice of inspiration that was telling me to come to the yoga practice for three long years. Once I finally began to practice (with the support of dear friends who cheered me on until I finally went to a class), I started to feel the connection of mind and body. This connection felt both like I had come home to who I was and also felt nearly suffocating. I continued to practice, as well as trained to teach yoga to others.
The yoga mat has become the place where I continue to learn the deepest parts of myself. My deep breath leads the way as I come into the poses, and I’ve realized that I deserve nothing less than the deepest possible breath within my practice.
And that’s where we begin; in the breath. I have a few things to say to you, yogi to yogi.
As you feel your body connect with the mat, allow it also to connect with the breath. Begin to feel the flow within yourself. I will tell you something that I know to be true: you are precious, and you deserve whatever it is that will make you feel full so that you can go into the world and do your good work.
The next place to bring the practice is to an allowing space. Allow yourself to be yourself. Allow everyone else to be who they are and feel how freeing that is.
Notice how you have such a clearer view of yourself when you allow others to live their lives. Allow gratitude to come into your psyche, and let it flow through every vein in your body, leaving no cell untouched. The power of gratitude in your yoga practice will most certainly follow you off of the mat. With this allowance comes absolute compassion. Once you allow compassion into your practice, your poses will become more beautiful that you would have imagined. Your toes may not come over your head in Natarajasana (Dancer’s pose) and your knees may bend in Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Fold). Still, if you are allowing and grateful, if you are compassionate, your practice will widely open up and the possibilities of the authentic you will be endless.
Your authentic self is the person you are when you allow the world to be as it is, and know that you will do what you can, you won’t do what you can’t, and the circle of Life will move forward. For me, coming to the mat meant leaving behind the idea that I could not succeed. What is it for you? What can you release in order to make room for what you need?
I invite you, the next time you come to your yoga practice, to ask yourself this question: What do you need to let in and what do you need to release in order to make room for the new? Let the breath be your guide, and let your authentic self speak. It’s really the least we can do for ourselves.
There is a quote that I heard nearly five years ago now in a yoga class. Your energy is the same energy that turns the planet. You are that important. I think of those words nearly every day, and I take it to the mat with me. I am that important. So are you.