09 June 2011

Peeling the god-damn yoga onion

The past seven months have been a pretty difficult time in my life. As a family, we lost two friends to suicide, one of whom was 18 years old. My daughter became really unwell and we spent months trying to discover what was wrong and what we could do for her? The house was burgled, the dog had a major operation, the Vespa was stolen, the car blah, blah blah... Life stuff! Shit happens to everyone!

Throughout this time, I consistently showed up on my yoga mat. I showed up and cried. I showed and did standing poses. I showed up and did what ever I could, but I showed up.

For me, when I am in emotional pain, I feel it physically in my body so I had to sit with myself at times and allow those emotions to surface; something that is not always easy. I had to with draw from the debating society as my physical yoga practice felt like it was going backwards and I had to accept this. Binds I once had were no longer there, poses I once loved became my nemesis, I continued to place my mat on the floor and tried my best to practice non-judgement.

As my daughter is recovering and the grief of losing friends is subsiding, my yoga practice has shifted into a whole new realm. Going through this period where I had to slow down and practice compassion for myself, has taken me to a much deeper level, both on and off the mat.

Yoga is sometimes described like the peeling of an onion, the layers come off and you go a bit deeper, but you can feel a bit raw as the layers disappear. Having just spent 4 days with my yoga teacher, I was given a whole new yoga practice. I was not looking for new poses, but I was given them; not one pose but many!

I have practised some of the intermediate Ashtanga yoga series in the past, but never liked this. I have a completely different fearless relationship with the poses and with myself. Compassion, patience and love feature in my yoga practice, and in my life...

I am deeply grateful to my yoga teacher, Nancy Gilgoff, who has been a guiding light on the way and also to her teacher, Sri K Pattabhi Jois, both of whom have spent many years peeling the god-damn onion and showing us how to do it.

2 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry that you've had to go through so much recently. What a beautiful testament to the power of the practice-- and a nice reminder that the physical stuff is not even close to being the core of the practice. Showing up, that's the practice. Being present. Watching the physical stuff ebb and flow along with life events. Thanks for this.

    -Ellie

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  2. Thank you for your lovely comments Ellie-The journey within continues :-)

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