Sacred Fire: My Journey into Ashtanga Yoga is a truly refreshing, touching and inspiring read.
This past week, I took a vacation with my family to Cancun during the last week of my second trimester. I am now expecting my third child, (it’s a boy). Finding your center and continuing to walk your dharma can seem at times impossible while raising a family.
Everyone depends on you. It almost feels as if you have to walk every one else’s dharma before you get to yours. Then, once you get to yours, you are pooped, too tired to even consider what you are really meant to do for yourself.
Reading Kino’s book opened my eyes to the simple truth that we are all living beings, energy entities that in reality are all thriving for the same inner-peace.
From the very first chapter, “Everybody Starts Somewhere,” I was submerged into the feelings and words of the young girl I also once was. Kino’s honesty captivated me while explaining her struggles with body image, food and inner battles. I had those too. Then, she ends the chapter with the same realization I learned through yoga:
Yoga taught me to see the perfection in imperfection, and embrace my body as it was. And, one of the amazing results I came to see was that the very instant I totally accepted my body for what it was, it changed to be stronger, leaner and more flexible. It truly did. But it was not until I had entirely surrendered to the self that I was, that change actually occurred. – Kino
Her book took me through her entire journey from the beginning to the present.
Having the honor to have studied with her and knowing her and her shala, I then understood where the magic of Miami Life Center. It is the kind of magic that doesn’t arise from placing a very expensive Ganesh to greet you at the door, or from the cool feeling of a self-serve tea station. It is the magic that only comes from the selfless heart of a dedicated yogi willing to share without reservation the fruit of the practice.
I now understand this is the heart of non-attachment.
If you seem happy on the surface yet underneath there is an old habit pattern of anger, resentment or bitterness, at some level, that is what you share. You cannot fake, beg or borrow consciousness. You are what you are and your body simply cannot lie. You have experienced only what you have experienced and as such you can share only that which you are. Although you may like the idea of sharing peace and love with the world, until you are truly, deeply peaceful you will at some level create more of the same misery that lies burning underneath your skin. – Kino
I took a two-week workshop at Miami Life Center with Kino at a time in my life when I felt desperate. I was in a hole and I couldn’t get out. I considered many options including a rehab center for dealing with PTSD.
I decided to stick with what brought it all to surface in the first place, yoga.
My time in Miami was the most healing time in my entire life. I practiced yoga at dawn, meditated, ate wholesome meals and swam in the warm waters of South Beach. As the days passed and after a few meltdowns and inner struggles, I started to feel more in touch with myself. I started to see that I wasn’t my traumatic experiences, but yet had emotions that contradicted the peace and love I was feeling at the time.
One afternoon before my departure, I approached Kino feeling energized, rejuvenated and motivated to try harder. “Kino, I am feeling much better and can see things from a better place, but I still feel so angry,” I started to cry.
She looked at me with eyes that I will never forget and with that tender look and a compassionate heart she said, “ You are doing great. It is okay to be angry. Allow yourself to be angry. You haven’t felt anything for a long time. Be angry for as long as you need to, but do not act on anger.”
Her words, her loving kindness, and her tender heart struck me so deep. I know I told her how much it meant to me, but I am not sure she ever grasped the full effect of her few words and attention.
The most powerful words are not necessarily new words. They are the ones spoken from the lips of a person whom we can finally believe in, a person whose integrity is unquestionable and a person whose very being inspires greatness. – Kino
It is affirming for me to see a woman with such determination who has struggles just like mine, with love tales full of black and bright white just like any other young girl. Her commitment to the path of self-realization through yoga, and her way of sharing it is more than inspiring; it’s transforming.
And what I have kept most dearly with me from her book is the concept of strength.
Over time I learned to love my weaknesses as essential components of strength and as keys to the inter connectedness of humanity. . . By developing the strength to accept yourself where you are while simultaneously demanding that you do more means that you have made peace with your journey. – Kino
I am so grateful for this past week with my beautiful family. I reconnected with nature, conquered some fears, swam with dolphins and treated my soul in reading Kino’s book.
What can I say, I’m a happy camper.
Photo courtesy of Marianne Worlow
Raquel Racusin is a mother, artist, and yogini. She was born and raised in Venezuela where she graduated with a degree in fashion design. Love brought her to California in 2001 where she married her husband Adam. Her true passion has always been painting and she has pursued this career in addition to raising her 2 beautiful daughters. In 2008, she encountered the path of yoga. She has had the opportunity to study with great teachers along the way. After two years of dedicated practice, yoga opened the door to a healing process Raquel had been avoiding and suppressing. Yoga has given her the courage and strength to face this challenge and succeed. She currently lives in Round Rock, TX with her husband, two daughters, two dogs, and a baby boy on the way.
Editor: Thaddeus Haas
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