And just like that, we are halfway through January! 😬 Moving into the second cycle of YTT means beginning to develop my first yoga class. Holy freak out. As students, we have the requirement of designing and teaching two 30-minute classes as well as a culminating 60-minute class. For someone with stage fright like myself, I knew this was going to be one of the most challenging aspects of this training. At first, I was assigned a date with only two weeks’ prep time, and after having a mini-heart attack, a fellow student (who will forever be my hero) graciously volunteered to take my place, allowing me a full month to prepare.
For those who maintain a Westernized understanding of yoga, they often don’t realize there is an entire spiritual foundation behind it. In reality, pure yoga barely focuses on the postures or movement aspect we are so familiar with today. An on-going YTT assignment has been the exploration of the yoga sutras (aphorisms), which not only serve to teach us the fundamentals of yoga, but also act as a sort of guide to living a peaceful and meaningful life. Recently, in addition to the deep transcendent history of yoga, I have noticed some pretty strong parallels to this in modern texts I am reading. Even though I know the Universe has impeccable timing, I still am in awe when I see the pieces fall into place. A few weeks ago I began reading don Miguel Ruiz’s “The Four Agreements” after it had been sitting on my wish list for years. This book is described as “a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness and love”. And just to reinforce his beautiful work, I got the opportunity to discuss it with amazing like-minded women in a Kundalini series that just happened to start a week after I picked up the book. #nerdalert
The common thread seems to be surrounding the idea of “oneness” through the recognition of your own light in others (essentially, the meaning of Namaste). In the Sutras, we learn that the Self abides in its own nature, and our main goal in life should be to release ourselves from the constraints of the outside world to see our true Selves. The Four Agreements begins with the discovery that “I am made of light; I am made of stars; …everything is made of light” and the realization that this has been forgotten because of what the world has led us to believe about ourselves. Gabby Bernstein’s book “Judgment Detox” even supposes that part of what is causing us suffering is that we disconnect from the truth of our connectedness. In her Step 4 she encourages you to view a person or conflict through the lens of love and release the fear-based limiting definitions you have place on yourself and others. Even quantum physicists are exploring this concept!
Much of the therapeutic work I do with clients is around healing wounds so the client can rediscover the beauty of their Self. So many of us forget how amazing we are, and hide the light we have within. While there are many paths in which to explore this, the fascinating commonality amongst so many philosophical, spiritual and therapeutic teachings is the belief that we are all connected to a “divine” (or fill in the language of your choosing) source. In many wisdom traditions, the Self is actually defined as a manifestation of the divine which, when put into practice, reinforces the understanding that we are all connected. As we release our suffering (which comes in the form of traumas, anger, hate or disconnect), we return to the deep love and peace that we innately all possess.
As I walk my own path, I realize that the more one commits to living these basic truths (or sutras in YTT land), the more one can embody the tranquil presence that we associate with Tibetan monks. When I look back to even just five years ago, I recognize that I no longer identify with as much anxiety or insecurity as I used to. I find it funny when friends and family preface a conversation with me by saying “Don’t give me the therapist/life coach response, I want to know what you think”. For me, there is no clear difference anymore. I don’t reserve special advice for clients and support my loved ones from a different mindset. No matter what role I am in, I have learned to authentically speak my truth from a space of love. And I have only been able to achieve this integrity of Self through all of the Self-healing I’ve done. In this, I can be a conduit for love, light and healing of others effortlessly.
In all the texts I’ve been reading lately, the bottom line is this: the secret to life is about being so divinely connected to your own beautiful light, you can be of highest service to others. And this is the key to living in peace. With this in mind, I am designing a practice for my first class to support Self-love. (Side note: in another serendipitous twist, I will be teaching on Valentine’s Day.) My asana (posture) sequences will focus on moving the energy through the body to open the heart chakra and connect yogi’s to the power within. My verbal cuing will serve as a reminder to bravely and powerfully celebrate the light they each possess. In this, I hope to initiate self-healing, and support my fellow yogi’s in becoming the light workers they are needed to be in a world so filled with anger and divisiveness. There is no greater feeling than channeling my own light to be in service to others.
~May my intention be but a drop in an ocean of love
that can ripple out to the far corners of the Universe.~
🙏🏻 Namaste. 🙏🏻.