They say the island of Koh Pha Ngan is mounted on a gigantic under-layer of precious stones—namely, the baby-pink toned rose quartz.
I remember the “ah-ha!” moment when one of my fellow Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga teacher trainees claimed that there was an abundance of rose quartz lying beneath us. She made mention of the crystal’s healing powers and loving qualities within it. It all made sense. This powerful experience was enhanced by the energies hidden in the island itself, and I felt an abrupt yet welcoming sense of self rush over me.
Feelings of belonging, support, growth of self-awareness, presence, and the ability to live in those very moments—the moments of struggle when learning new poses, and even the moments where I had to step back from being social in order to look inward. I slowly learned to take tender care of each second handed to me because of the vast amount of knowledge and love shared between people who had come together in Koh Phangan.
That island in Thailand changed the way I look at the world, entirely for the better. Being a strong believer of the saying “everything happens for a reason,” I feel that I was drawn to that specific All Yoga training, at that assigned time, with those specific people, in that magical place.
The universe brought me to a place full of positive energy and love when I needed it most. And that island built on stone taught me three invaluable life-lessons.
Love is the main property of rose quartz—love for others and love for self. This love stone opens the heart chakra and allows the soul to expand and grow. The gem’s high energy levels enhance love and belonging in virtually any and all situations.
The energies teach us to apply love to ourselves and thereby find ourselves more worthy. Emotionally speaking, the gem is used to balance emotions and bring a sense of peace, serenity, the ultimate calm. As a result, stress levels diminish and anxiety eases. As these melt away, energies of tolerance, and compassion are brought forth, enabling us to see in the good in ourselves and those around us.
Rose quartz is used to raise self-esteem and self-confidence, which I felt personally just being in Koh Phangan. Self-esteem was something I was seriously lacking when I arrived. I have always been able to portray a confident persona, a “fake it ‘til you make it” attitude.
However, under the top coat of smiles and fun I was lacking purpose, passion, and pride. I have struggled with body image issues since my early teens, something that went unresolved and resulted in little self-love. My relationships with family and friends were unhealthy and reflected my own feelings of little to no self-worth. I looked for love in unavailable partners, and never believed praise when I received it.
But everything changed on that island. I felt the most myself, and I didn’t need the approval of others to feel comfortable in my own skin.
Finally, I felt the need to forgive myself and those who hurt me in the past. On the island, close to the yoga shala, is a labyrinth. The labyrinth, a circular shaped pathway without much activity most days is brought to life each full moon. Candles and the bright moon light the way, beautiful souls somberly walk through.
The woman at the gate greets you with a smile and asks you to set intentions for the journey. She said softly to me, “Let go of something you no longer need in your life. When you reach the center, make a wish. On your way out, visualize your wish and positive outcomes in your life.”
The last thing she said to me, although I had never met this woman before, was exactly what I needed to hear. She said, “ You are everything.” With those words circulating in my mind, I moved slowly in a walking meditation, purposefully stepping forward and away from my past.
I let go of the negativity and hurt, and I felt myself becoming more centered. I looked forward to new goals and adventures. With each candle, I imagined myself accomplishing my goals and loving myself more along the way. With each candle, I forgave myself, and I forgave my past.
I wouldn’t have been able to let go and move on without the guided meditation we did during training. A meditation that asked us to give peace and love to a person we love, a person we don’t know, and a person we hate.
That was one of the most difficult things I have done. It was an emotionally draining endeavor, and it taught me that I needed to let go of the hate I held in my heart. That hate that was not serving anyone and was directly affecting the love I had for myself and the way I handled everything in my life.
Whether you believe in the power hidden within the Earth’s creations, or not—there is something to be said about the power of that island. Full of people from all corners of the globe, spreading love and acceptance; there was love at every turn. Although I only spent 30 days on Koh Phangan, the things I learned, the self-acceptance I gained, was irreplaceable.
I learned love, self-esteem, and forgiveness not only from the knowledge and practice of yoga, but also from the energy of the rose quartz within the island. And even though I left to return to my regular life, I carried the essences and lessons back with me, moving forward with my new rose-quartz, happy heart.
Author: Elora Herberick
Image: Thành Alex/Unsplash
Editor: Taia Butler