Feelings are everywhere. Be gentle. J. Masai
First words in my journal from this morning look something like this, “I may be using my practice as an escape, a balm, a band-aide to heal the wounds. How do I go deeper? What’s next? What does true healing look like?”
Today is a good day. I feel like myself. I lead practice for Kelly, Yolanda, and Erica; the Detox Divas. I like these women. I have begun to bond with them, and I see them bonding even more deeply with each other. It is beautiful to see, and to be a part of.
That night I lead a release and renew ceremony for meditation. Since they are doing a deep cleanse of the body, I thought it appropriate to invite them to cleanse the toxins of the heart, soul and mind as well. I invite them to let go of what no longer serves them: doubt, loss, remorse, insecurity, pain, sadness, etc. This is similar to the practice that I offer for New Year’s Eve.
The first time I went to the Living Yoga Center in Urbana was to attend this ceremony for the new year. I was new to the area and it was free. I had nothing to lose. I needed the kind of healing this promised to offer. This was the first Christmas without mom, and my marriage was in trouble. I needed something.
When I walked into the space, I remember feeling very safe, enveloped by the warm glow of candlelight. The teacher had such a strong presence. I felt like I could trust her. Without her even knowing, I let her captain my rickety little ship that was lost at sea in stormy weather. I needed a guide to bring me safely home.
I hid in the corner. I was emotionally fragile, and a corner location seemed like a much less vulnerable place to be. I don’t remember the exact words that were used, or the shapes we put our bodies into, but I do remember being given permission to feel.
In this sacred space, I was invited to observe and to honor the wounds of my lifetime. We wrote down on paper what it was we wanted to release. But we also wrote down what it was we wanted to hold on to, strengthen in ourselves and in our lives.
At the end of the ceremony, we burned what we wanted to let go of in a fire that was set up in the parking lot. As we left the building, we were smudged with sage. A healing practice. It’s like taking a spiritual bath.
I left that ritual with a new intention, written on a card. I carry it with me always, and it is often the intention that I set for my practice.
Clarity. Strength. Healing.
Over the course of two years, I would drive to Urbana each weekend and attend Deb’s 10:15am Saturday class. This teacher became my friend, and as I progressed through the yoga teacher training program, she became my mentor as well. I am grateful for her strength in my time of need.
It is often my intention when I teach that I can offer this same kind of healing. I hold the space so that students can feel safe. In this safe place, you can focus on your breath, your body.
I’ve seen the kind of healing that yoga can impart, I’ve felt it. I think I was supposed to go through all that I did to come out the other side stronger. Without it, I wouldn’t be a teacher.
It is an honor to be a bridge to the other side for students. I’m like the peg-legged sea captain with a patch over one eye, weathered by the storms of life, but I got this, damn it, I got this.
No sage ever made it to the other shore without getting shipwrecked. Swami Rama