A couple of months ago while sitting on a lakeside beach with a friend, a cosmic two-by-four smacked me upside the head and directed me to "surrender into the yoga." My response was a four letter profanity that would make a sailor proud. Not very yogic of me, I know, though at the moment the gravity of the truth was so heavy and BIG that it made me want to hurl. It scared- oh, who am I kidding -- scares the crap out of me. And yet, it's the truth.
The biggest resistance to this calling is that I don't want to be a full time yoga teacher. It's exhausting and my body just doesn't bend well anymore. I don't like practicing by myself -- never have -- and getting to classes is challenging and expensive when you live in the middle of a forest. Though I do love teaching, it's not so much the asanas themselves, it's more about how you use yoga as a tool for living off the mat in the moment by moment, choice by choice daily living through the great times as well as the challenging times.
It's about honing your strength, balance, flexibility, surrendering and opening to grace when you're on the mat, the going inside and connecting to your body and getting out of the head space so much for those brilliant and beautiful "Ah-ha! THAT'S what spaciousness feels like!" moments that hook us in yoga. That is what I adore. I love the application of the mysticism and science behind yoga. I love bridging the woo woo with the real life stuff.
I no longer believe that enlightenment is something we attain to achieve. That is more doing. More often than not, it happens when we forget; all the virtues, responsibilities, and judgments that keep us separate from our source of unconditional love and grace.
Here's my truth. I want to wake myself and everyone around me up to their Divinity. God is not outside of you, nor is God responsible for anything (miracles or absence). God is you and you are the Divine. Radical, I know. Heretic even. But more and more people are awaking up to this awareness of their own grace. I want to help those people reconnect to their Divinity, bring home those parts of themselves they sent off for safe keeping to reunite, redirecting that strength, balance, and flexibility into the union, the communion with the Divine inside.
I have taught the asanas of yoga for 13 years. Yoga and I have had a tumultuous relationship. At one point, I even thought we'd have to break up. But somehow we managed to not quit one another and now our connection is deeper than I could have ever imagined. I learn from it every time I step on the mat and every time I apply it off the mat.
Truth be told, I don't know how not to teach. I hear people tell me they feel calmer, more grounded after working with me. I think mostly what I do is lift the veil to help them safely connect to the grace that is already inside of them. They come out of the worry of what hasn't happened, may never happen, take stock of the present and focus on what they can do right now. For me, I want to be the bridge for that grace and yoga -- rather asanas or the application -- is one tool.
You don't have to be flexible to show up on the mat. Most people aren't. Besides, the point is to improve flexibility and that only happens through practice. You don't have to be perfect to show up. The more imperfect you are, in my opinion, the better. I do love me some imperfect misfits. You don't have to be physically strong. That, too, comes with practice and the mere act of getting up off the couch or your computer and showing up takes mental strength. You don't even have to be balanced. Few people are on or off the mat. Watch a tree, they sway with the wind and though they may lose what is weak or already dead, it takes a lot to uproot a tree. You don't have to know how to be still and quiet in a meditative fashion, you just have to be willing to be quiet enough to listen to what your body and your heart is saying.
Here's my commitment to you. As I continue to surrender my own resistance and flow with this yoga calling, I will continue to channel the wisdom for how to live off the mat to you. Someday I want to be doing workshops and retreats on all of this. I want to do a TEDX talk. I don't see videos or some grand studio ownership in my future. I just want to help those who get there's something more to their life, something more Divine and infinite, and they want to touch, taste, smell, hear, and see it. Who knows what package that will come in? I am willing to stay balanced and flexibility while staying strong in my vision, surrendering my resistance and opening to the grace waiting.
For now, I want to know what's coming up for you. Where are you struggling with resistance in your hearts deepest desire? Where are you struggling with strength, balance, flexibility, opening, or surrendering?