I just graduated from 10 months of yoga teacher training. One weekend a month we came together to expand on the theory and practice of yoga. We lived our lives, as yogis, learning how to be in the world guided by the yamas and niyamas, and inspired by the Yoga Sutras.
Looking back, I realized how much I went through: loss of a job, unemployment, new job, re-injury, and falling in love. These people kept me coming back to the practice, grounding me and supporting me to find the divine within me.
It’s been a rollercoaster of a year, and through it all, I knew that every month, I would sit in a circle with some of the most courageous humans. These gathering circles were often full of tears and laughs as we recounted our struggles and triumphs.
I am so inspired, and ready for the next chapter as teacher, and to be open to learn even more. And so I dive into life, full of hope and expectation, knowing that I have a tribe of people standing beside me, urging me forward.
A few weeks ago, I felt the panic begin to sneak up again. And so I braced myself for the impact I figured would happen. I braced myself so much that I stopped yoga. I replaced meditation with nightmare filled sleep. I sat on my couch rather than going to my mat. My anxiety increased. And I could feel myself starting to drift away from my grounding, from the very thing I needed to do.
That’s the thing about yoga as a lifestyle – it won’t let you not feel. Backbends won’t let you be a victim, the heart is too vulnerable. It fees impossible to practice inversions, how do you stay grounded and free at the same time when you are holding tightly onto pain.
I sat a few weekends ago in yoga teacher training, and Nora asked us to share our gratitude, what were we thankful for – and I went blank. I was so engrossed in my pain. Gratitude and anger don’t come hand in hand.
Slowly by slowly, as the weekend went by, sitting in a room full of inspiring yogis, I began to feel more at ease. More willing to let go. It reminded me that this practice has changed me, it has saved me.
This is a journey that I am spiraling through. Every time I am faced with pain it will get easier. I am learning to be free, with each asana, with each mantra, with each second of meditation.
I go back to the breath.
The reverberations of the harmonium and mantra speak to me. They speak to the place in my soul where I don’t want to get stuck in undiscovered hurt and fear. They begin to open my heart chakra, my very place I try to cower. I feel my shoulder blades sneak down my back as my heart lifts, slightly swaying as the sound comes from my heart, then to my throat.
It is sweet. And it is powerful.
Change is hard. Whether I want it to happen or not, it just is. But it’s also cathartic in a way. It keeps me focused on what’s really important, allows me to get out from under what I thought I wanted (because I had this good job, or a great deal with a roommate).
So already 2015 has come with major change (and challenges) – but it’s forced me to write my own story, try to get back control of my destiny – because I can.
“At any given moment you have the power to say: this is not how the story is going to end.”
So my options seem that I could wallow in the fact that life has thrown a lot of hardballs or embrace it, and start making choices that will matter to me. And as I write this, I don’t know how I will pay rent on the new apartment I just moved into, or what a new job will look like in a city that is saturated in an industry that is floundering. But my story will not end in failure – it’s that simple.
We were learning the Vedic practice of saying – ‘Neti, Neti’ (not this, not this) during meditation. Strip away the roles you play (daughter, sister, friend, auntie), the fancy titles (mine was Specialist, nice right?), basically throw aside everything that seems important. The fear, doubt, worries definitely “Neti, Neti” the hell out of those. Peel back all the layers, and find the real being – I am this.
And I sit in that state, maybe a bit vulnerable, but with that vulnerability will come great insight.
My journey in yoga started in Botswana; where I learned Asana on a tiled outdoor patio – dripping in sweat from the 30 degree weather. It continues here in Canada, back to my roots – where I will firmly plant myself in this ancient practice. I’m embarking in a yearlong yoga teacher training. I can’t wait for how I am going to be stretched (physically, mentally and spiritually).
I’ve been focused on different techniques to meditate differently, more focused. And so, with a new mala (that I made myself!) I begin chanting “Aham Prema” – I am divine love, and I am armed with the 108 times reminder that I am enough. With a deep inhale, I start on my yoga teacher training with great expectation.
Today at Physio I realised how far I have to come. The fracture hurts more than it’s supposed to and I want to scream. I am so ready for this fucking foot to be healed already. Just to make it harder, add in 12 hour days at the office and online school at night.
I felt beyond myself as I limped home from the bus this evening.
In the midst of my pity party, I’m trying to find perspective within the past six months of being broken, after all: “You never realise how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.”
So perspective looks like this: A new job that is not just exciting and challenging, but reminds me to stay passionate. A completed first assignment, with a glass of wine to help. And pain killers that ease the throbbing. Not to mention the necessary break from an ambiguous relationship that wasn’t enough.
See baby girl? Life is coming together nicely. And I am breathing through the raw emotions, kindly reminding myself to refuse to dwell on the shittiest bits.
But I hate to admit this: the good bits are being overwhelmed by the fact I’m just fucking frustrated at my seemingly inability to heal.
But soon. Soon. (there’s that glimmer of hope again)
I haven’t written recently. Part of me is worried of what will come out; writing can be so telling to what’s ruminating.
These last five months of healing from a broken toe turned foot fracture, has put me on edge. I haven’t rolled with this challenge as I would’ve liked. I thought I could do this differently, saying “Sure I can’t walk, but I can still meditate, do ab exercises and drink more tea.” It just didn’t happen. In my pain and frustration I turned to the things that are easy fixes.
On Friday, I celebrated my 29th birthday with people I’m so happy to have surrounded myself with. But in my happy drunkenness turned very sad and melancholy state, I know there’s still change to be made.
Changes that will allow me to continue on a journey of self love.
And so there’s this – being okay with the past mistakes and the fractured foot. And knowing the decisions I make for the future will be good ones.
All that being said, I’m jumping into the final year of my twenties (figuratively for now), with expectation.
Part of the feeling of instability comes from trying to remain open to possibilities, not wanting to plan too much. Partly it’s from still trying to navigate an active lifestyle with a (still) broken toe. Partly it’s my parents moving from the place I called home (no matter if I lived there or not) for the last 18 years of life.
I have sought to make sure my foundation and grounding has nothing to do with a place I currently live. But maybe that was easier when I knew I could always go back ‘home’.
No matter the reasoning, I don’t hate the unsettled feeling. This is an amazing place to be – from unsettled comes change, I better be ready to roll with it.
I’m in the middle of a 30 day challenge, attempting yoga everyday for a month. On Sunday, after what feels like the hundredth Vinyasa of class – I go in for a runners lunge, and hear a snap, as my toe gets stuck on my fancy new mat.
My stomach plunges – the pain, but more than that, I acknowledge instantly this is more than a simple stub. I lay onto my mat, pop my toe back into place, and rock back and forth as tears stream down my face.
I’ve been hobbling around, taking taxis to the office, and trying to not melt into despair knowing I’ve failed my 30 day challenge.
But I can’t dwell on the failure, it’s ultimately not a fail. I didn’t decide not to make time for yoga. Breaking my toe just happened. Sometimes, life’s a bitch. I am trying to find the positive (let’s be real, it feels more like being annoyingly perky in the face of death).
I focused on drinking wine, watching food documentaries, and this – finally gaining the courage to start a new blog.
Not so bad really.