So I’m a Yogi… I mean I’ve spent far too many hours in the yoga room teaching, breathing, taking classes, and learning how to bend and touch my toes. haha. Seriously. I’m sure the yoga trend is annoying to the common man, however to me it’s been life changing.
I’ve taken many classes, experienced some teachers, and tend to have the kind of personality that sticks with WHO I like. Yup. If I resonate with you, I’ll see ya regularly. I can sincerely say, there are few teacher that I really really love and resonate with fully and completely…. however, that’s another post and long subject matter.
Today I took a class that changed my life.
Now, I have had many life changing ah-ha moments, and a ton of super feel good juicy classes that I’ve walked out of inspired. I can tell you I’ve experienced exceptional yoga classes that seem to somehow ‘hit me’ right where I needed at the moment, on that day. Today was one of those days… however, today was exceptional. It wasn’t until alter, after I basked for a few hours in the bliss that I experienced, that I realized how truly changed I had become, and am now able to reflect on the profound hour I had today.
So I walk into my friends yoga class, who had apparently forgotten that I was coming, and in the locker room she greets me with a hug, huge smile, and loud hello and shock that I showed up. Right away I felt the love, and was happier to be there. I said to her, “I’m so excited to see what you have planned for class.” hahaha. In my inner mind I intuitively knew whatever she had crafted would be what I needed to hear.
… So carry on into the yoga class, she walks in, enthusiastically and greets us and immediately gets to her point, I mean the theme of the class. She talks about the inner ‘cave’, something often unspoken, unheard of, and very foreign in this western yoga culture. While she preaches with a kind flirty attitude she tells us about this ancient yoga philosophy and how the whole point of yoga is not the outside world, but actually taking it inside. In fact, the inner yoga journey is the hardest and more challenging aspect of yoga…. hence why most people don’t go there, or any where near that ‘path’.
The inner cave that yogis speak about, is actually tuning inside ourselves and learning to reconnect to the heart. The whole purpose of yoga, to me at least, is learning how to create love inside, and how to feel those blissful sensations in every moment and every waking day, so that we can all vibe in our highest potential, which is LOVE.
(Alright, enough about that, I think that’s enough to get you centered)
Ironically, the whole class was structured around backbends. A smile lifted to my face because backhanding is my favorite thing to do in yoga… and with this specific teacher, I love it because she leads my in safely and helps me ‘go deep’. hahaha cliche I know. Seriously, there is something to be said about someone who knows how to teach yoga, properly set us up, and put us in positions that actually align and help our body. (no joke). When you can bend, and be safe, and no break, the experience is unlike anything else.
So I’m hyped up, excited, ready to open my heart and dive into my inner cave. Yes, she does just that. With a symphony of appealing music, and her own heart of gold, she leads us through some warmups, and a fast body set up and flow. In her instructions she constantly reminds us, legs strong. It wasn’t until later she brought it all together and showed us why we need our legs strong…. the legs must be strong to support and open the heart. WOW. Bliss bomb realization right there, in that moment! (Okay, you really had to be there for that one, but I post it anyways).
Are you ready for the kicker? I mean the part that changed my life?
Here it is…
After moving, shaking, bending, backhanding, and doing a totally new version of my all time favorite pose, CAMEL, we eventually reach the floor. On our backs, I thought we were done…. but no not yet. I’m ready to just be, fully tap out, close my eyes, escape, and something inside me reminds me to be present. See i have a good tendency and bad habit to tune out totally and be in my own blissful world in yoga. haha. I had to keep reminding myself to stay here, and be here now.
My teacher says, “well, we are almost done. Two rounds of wheel pose now.”
I gasp inside. Another favorite pose! I love this pose because in the past, I’ve always been able to do it and no matter how depleted I feel, I go for it anyways. Except now, I wasn’t feeling it. My arms hurt, my wrist hurt, and I had to dig to find my strength. I pushed my willpower and told myself I can do this. So I did. I pushed up into wheel, held it, felt it, cracked my heart open, and came down. I already decided I’d sit the second one out. I’m a cautious person, and I have wrist injuries and can’t do chadrungas or anything crazy on my hands. Man, were they killing. Then my teacher spoke…
I don’t know exactly what she said. I can tell you she brought the class full circle. She said one more pose, wheel. Okay, we knew that. Then she added, for a timed minute. Oh shit I thought. She went on to say, that opening the heart is not about what we do on the outside, it’s about the opening on the inside, and how devoted we can be. She used the word FORTITUDE. (Forgive me, because you had to be in the moment to witness her words and experience the real dialogue). Regardless, it obviously hit me, and motivated me. I told myself, with everything about my life, and everything that has gone wrong, and all the failures I’ve endured, I still cannot give up…. Because that is the yoga path.
It’s not linear, it’s not straight, and it certainly is not a scripted easy version of reality. In fact, the moment you veer off that other path, the one most people live, you want to turn around and run. Because roadblock and hard lessons and obstacles will hit you. You will be challenged more than you knew humanely possible. When you cross that bridge, there is NO going back. I mean, once you wake up to reality, it’s like, “fuck, why did I do this?” Okay, sorry for those who have no idea what I’m saying. Seriously, the inner path of yoga is where you take your own yellow brick road ride of life and get transformed. I mean in more ways than you know. Nothing and no one can save you, and in the darkest moments all you can do is remind yourself that one day everything will be okay…. and yes pray and chant and breathe and sincerely bow down and do whatever it takes to stay alive.
I don’t mean to scare you. I’m just letting you know, that inner cave is not found easily. However, when you get a glimpse of it, its something so surreal that something deep inside calls you and almost forces you to keep going after ‘it’. After all, no treasure is found easily, everything is always developed, designed, and discovered, after many test and trials. Okay I got off subject… back to the class….
So I get my courage and I tell myself I’m going to do it. I erase the fear based thoughts, the worries, and ignore the pain in my wrists. I go for it. I push up into bridge. The timer starts. I feel strong in the legs, open in my heart. Dam it feels liberating. Then my wrist literally feel like they are doing to break and explode. PAIN. I’m in the moment, I know I can’t quit. No way. The mat practice is a total reflection of life, and what happens outside. With what I’m going through in my own life, I knew quitting would be the old me. See, I’ve learned to become a fierce warrior…. So I carry on. Then the teacher changes the song, turns up the music, and as if we are in a movie a SOULFUL ‘take me to the river’ song plays on LOUD while we backbend and open our heart to a bigger force beyond us. (Sappy I know, but in the moment, totally persuading).
Without thinking, my own instinct has me come down to my forearms, while in wheel pose. There is probably a fancy name for this pose, I don’t know it. Imagine me in wheel pose, heart open, head back with my forearms on the ground pressing my head and chest up. I struggle at first, and then I’m actually amazzzzed I am in it. How the hell did that happen? I shocked myself. See I’m not the flexiest yogi, and my shoulders are rarely that open. (Mad props to the yoga teacher and her instructions).
So I’m in the pose, there is a timer, I’m flooded with everything happening and my only thought is I got this, push through, we are almost done.
Suddenly the teacher shows up, and her legs are pushing against my legs (this is an adjustment) and she’s talking to me (don’t remember exactly what). Then her hands press up against my back and she propels my heart up, to a new level. Holy fuck. That did something. She’s saying something, probably words of encouragement, I can’t remember. She stays there, perfectly supporting me, and actually helping me break my hear wide open, in a way I don’t believe I’ve ever done. All I can do is take it in, breath, and be there.
Before I know it, the minute is over, the teacher is gone and I’m laying on my back soaking it all in.
You want to know what liberation feels like, its THAT.
I bliss out. I mean really, I’m high as a kite, done, in some other love heartfelt universe, my body is open, and I’m on cloud 9. The class ends. I don’t want to get up, but I have to get somewhere, so I do. I can’t even process what happened. So I don’t, I come into reality and move, get dressed, and do back into my day.
Later it hits me. Holy fuck. THATS what happened.
See I have a lot of childhood wounding. Call it my own suffering, sacrifice, karma, I don’t care…. but what I can tell you is I’ve never felt really supported my whole life. I’ve never ever experienced love in a supportive environment. Believe me, my mad healing process, and my own inner yoga journey has not been easy. Then again, freedom, never is.
So this teacher, she touched me this day, and did something utterly profound. Besides her yoga class, the theme, her words, her teachings, and philosophy, she supported me. That backbend I believe will forever leave my heart wide open. See the back of the heart is symbolic of how we receive and get support. She taught me that actually. Many backbends later, I’m still always working on letting love in, and accepting love from others.
In that class she left an imprint on my heart. Sitting here writing this, I still feel it. That support, that hand, that loving touch, pushing me up, helping me, inspiring me, empowering me, and reminding me that I don’t have to do this alone…. or even suffer through it. In fact, what I needed, and what I believe we all need, is the friendly reminder that a little love can go a long way, and when we help others we can leave an everlasting impression.
It’s true life comes full circle. Often we are too busy to see it, or witness is. Today reminded me that no matter what is happening in our life, there is always a reason and a way to be inspired and reminded of how lucky we are to be alive. I know darkness, I’ve had moments in my inner cave where the depth of emotion and deep suffering hit me so hard I wondered if I would make it through. There were many tears, lonely nights, periods of isolation, and my only hope that one day I’d find people to skip merrily with and journey on this crazy yellow brick road of life.
Well towards the end of my own exploration in my inner cave, I can say that life is pretty meaningless unless we have supportive and loving people in our life.
While family, friends, coworkers, and a ton of others may not accept you, love you, or treat you well, never get discouraged. Somewhere out there there are people who can help you, support you, and even show you a better road that may actually lead you to the love that you desire.
This teacher is my guru and the shining light who touched me years ago, and today we come full circle in watching each other journey into our own cave of the heart. Today she closed my chapter, helped me end my own cycle, by leaving an imprint that will forever hold me up, lift me up, and help me know I’m not alone, and in fact always supported and loved in that place.
No matter how challenging the inner cave journey has been, I can say I’ve developed strength I never knew I had. I know now that the deepest essence of love, is not in what you do, but actually, in who you touch.
Fuck, if we could all get that, I believe our world could instant transform.
We will slowly. Like wheelpose, we all need the proper alignment, instruction, and guidance to get us there. We all need to reminder our own remarkable abilities, believe in our faith, and surrender what we think, to actually living what we know.
This is the Yoga …. The inner path, the cave, and destroying the ignorance that has robbed us of our own greatness. If we, individually, then collectively, could be willing to dive into our heart space, then maybe, little by little, we could we could create a loving culture that loves to love, gives to help, and supports, because we know that we are all in our cave, and wanting to feel free again.
Keep your heart open.
Keep bending until you break.
Even when you break, rise up,
and never give up on what you know is inside of you.
It is my learning to be open, we can always feel free.
Our hearts can stay open, when we choose to let love lead…
❤ May all beings live happy and free ❤