My journey into the practice of yoga began when I was in the midst of doing some deep interior work. I knew, without a doubt, this inner work would involve cultivating a deeper sense of self-compassion. In the midst of longing for healing and growth within mind, body, and soul, I was keenly aware that I did not have a healthy relationship with my body. For years, like many women, I listened to the messages culture feeds us about how we should look and what makes us worthy. These messages quickly became the tapes that played over and over again in my head. Sadly, I held these false messages as truth. Throughout this season, physical activity became beating and sculpting my body into the image, shape, and form that I hoped would make me worthy of love. This earning and striving for God’s love left me feeling exiled and alienated from myself, God, and others.
To find healing and growth in mind, body, and soul and to cultivate self-compassion, I knew I would need to tap into wisdom and intellect that existed beyond the mind and my unhelpful thought patterns. Some lessons can be learned through the mind, which is where we most often go first to learn something new. Learning and problem solving through our rational, analytical, thinking mind is highly praised in our society and, consequently, this is where we live most of our lives – in our heads. However, it became evident on my journey that I needed to start listening to the wisdom and intellect waiting to be heard in my own heart and body. I had to stop denying these parts of myself if I wanted to be whole. The invitation was to look and listen within, to discover new ways of listening and being with God.
My disconnected, disembodied self accepted this invitation to listen deeply by starting with the embodied contemplative practice of yoga. In stepping through the door of the yoga studio, releasing myself into the mat, and allowing the yoga instructor to be my guide, I almost immediately experienced the way this practice allowed me to be present and notice my thoughts, feelings, and actions – all without judging. I found I was able to just notice, and then show kindness and compassion towards myself. I allowed my body to just be. This allowed feelings to rise up and be felt. Without running away, stuffing, or fighting the experience I just noticed, and in this sacred space, slowly and over time, internal shifts began to occur. I felt held and carried through the movements and postures in a way that slowly began to heal my mind, body, and soul. Coming to the present moment through the breath, allowing myself to open, trusting despite the discomfort, and surrendering my desire for control made way for Spirit to move. This movement revealed deep inner Truth. Truth I had been too busy and fearful to listen to or notice. That is, until I found the courage to step on to the mat, get into my body, and do the messy, hard work of healing and transformation in mind, body, and soul.
“Observance of the soul can be deceptively simple. You take back what has been disowned. You work with what is, rather than with what you wish were there.” – Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul
Yoga has been such a transformative practice on my journey that I decided to pursue a Yoga Alliance accredited 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training Certification through PranaYoga: Institute of Yoga and Holistic Health. If you are feeling a nudge to start your own transformative journey and are interested in building an at-home yoga practice designed for your body, personality, and desires for growth, I would be an honored to serve as your guide.
Connect with me to set up a free exploratory consultation!
P.S. I have been working on some more exciting stuff I’ll be launching soon! If you are at all interested in a combination of spiritual direction, the Enneagram, contemplative practices, and/or yoga be sure to stay tuned!