When I started this journey 15 years ago, I didn’t know I’d need a space suit.
I was quite content with my yoga mat, a few blocks, a strap and a nice comfy bolster. But a space suit? Can I get it in a color to match my mat?
I openly admit that my practice began purely on a physical level. I believed yoga’s spiritual and therapeutic benefits were beyond my realm. They were for gifted, enlightened guru types—not a typical suburban girl like me. A word of advice: Do not listen to self-doubting thoughts. They only got in the way of what I was entitled to.
Fast forward some years. I’ve completed a teacher training course, I’ve begun teaching and I understand more about myself. I’ve dusted away some mental and physical cobwebs and have created a bit more space for a healthier lifestyle. The path of evolution through self-study isn’t always easy. It can feel lonely and isolating at times, but also intuitively right and comforting, and from time to time, illuminating.
My weirdest illumination to date? Wait for it… I am a yogini and I own a space suit! Some people visualize themselves floating above lakes or being protected by white lights or deities. I have a space suit.
My yogic space suit was delivered recently (metaphorically speaking of course). But before that, it quietly orbited my practice, swinging left and darting right until I found a fairly straight road ahead.
So what is this space suit? It’s part of my ever-growing yoga tool kit. It’s only virtual—not something as tangible as my mat—but it’s as important as the practice itself. I use it on and off my mat. It’s made up of my yogic experiences so far: my teacher interactions, the knowledge I’m absorbing, micro changes in my body, macro adjustments in my psyche, my practice pendulum, my kindred spirits I’ve met, my support network, the learning curve with my students, the help of my loved ones, my trust in this process and gallons of gratefulness. Unknown to me, as practiced, my space suit was being stitched together. Now that I have it, I’m not letting it go—in a aparigraha (non-attached) way!
Inside my space suit, I have room to practice, breathe, stretch, relax, laugh and cry. I can invite in whatever I want and discard what I no longer need. My suit sports some fine repairs. They represent the mistakes I’ve made along the way.
In my 20s, I brave-faced my father’s sudden death with an unhealthy work ethic. For over a decade, I met ridiculous challenges with superficial confidence and without the knowledge that I am an empath. This toxic combination quite literally made me see stars. Words and glances overly affected me, although you would never know from the outside. Internal power struggles were a daily thing and I inevitably encountered ill-fated relationships at work and in the rest of my life.
But honestly, I’m über grateful for the good and bad in my life because it gives me perspective (although not always in the moment). I’m still working on that. Space for growth and transformation is what inspires me on my healthy self-study journey.
Now that this suit is firmly in my possession, I have finally acknowledged myself as a lifelong student of yoga and those self-doubting thoughts don’t belong with me anymore. The next phase of my journey is about to lift off and I’m open to what that is. Hopefully it involves traveling toward embodied awareness, adhering to celestial guidance and taking time out for reflection. But if I get diverted, I know I have my trusted toolkit, my space suit and lots of commitment.
So, if your intuition sends you spacey messages, grab them! They are beautifully weird and unique to your self-studies.
One small step for a yogini, but one giant leap for yoga!
Author: Justine Farnworth
Editor: Evan Yerburgh
Photo: Courtesy of Author