Introduction and Foreward by Author
Stunning, sacred, heart. I want this course to stun you with the beauty of connection — to take your breath away so that you can find it again in the depths of the web of aliveness. May this journey shock you back into feeling deeper into yourself, others, life, and nature. This isn’t a “how to yoga” course, this is an “already am yoga” course. I want this course to help you see that you’ve been confusing the hammer for the house. There’s no yoga innately in a studio, you bring it with you because it’s already in you. There is yoga innately in nature, because you are nature. And because you are nature, you will find a mirror greater than the one hanging on the wall. Yoga isn’t rainbows and unicorns, it’s about wholeness, acceptance, seeing what’s real, knowing how to rest comfortably in the unknown, and being part of the great mystery and magic of life. It lives outside of the realms of drama: it is bursting with the magic of being firmly rooted in reality. It exists in the paradox of the two being one and the same. Yoga, like nature, has no garbage; it encompasses the spectrum of experiences.
When I wasn’t able to trust the depth and truth of my dedication to my practice, I was mentally edgy and overly-disciplined. I thought if I didn’t do my practice from 5:30-8:30 every morning that it wasn’t enough. My yoga wasn’t yoga then. But through the years and cycles, through life, I have learned to replace that kind of discipline with the kind of discipline of knowing and dedication. I get on the mat not because if I don’t I’m not good enough; I get on the mat because I have to, my heart longs to be there. I’m not whole without it — it’s such a part of me that it feels weird to name it something, even yoga. Once I tap into that knowing, discipline rooted in dedication, there’s no force. I feel more me and something more vast at the same time. I don’t feel motivated to take on the world when I finish my practice; rather, I feel peaceful, full, connected and in sync, feeling it easier to laugh at the oddities of life and full of love. I feel cleansed, whole, happy, content and I’ve stopped the inertia of whatever and stepped into the present and the vastness. I’ve let go of perfection and grabbed ahold of the present and of a realness that isn’t shaped by stories but by insight. I’ve let go of the stories and “shoulds” of my mind and remembered the knowing and heart. I see sharper, clearer and with different eyes that come from a deeper place, and I make my decisions from that place. Now tell me, how could a practice like that NOT change your life? It changes mine, every day. And if your life is ever- evolving, then shouldn’t your practice evolve too?!
I am not here to tell you how to be you or what to do or how to be, only to offer up that it’s possible to listen deeper to yourself and see who you are underneath the shoulds. Yes, even a yoga practice has veils to work through. At some point we have to take the teachings and the trainings and throw them away to find the truth and then pick them back up and reassemble in a way that fits now. They are a step along the way, they are a hammer that often get confused for the house. I don’t want to add any more to your head — I want to help peel back the layers and dust off the cobwebs of and reveal what’s always been there — shininess — and let that add to your heart and clear the head.
Who am I to say you need stillness, or movement? Who am I to say you need to breathe deeper or louder? I can only say those things to me when it’s true. I might offer a suggestion based on insight and connection, or mirror something back. But how am I to know the depths of your heart and your connection to the whole? The only one who can ever know is you. That is the gift of the experience of being alive. I can be the eyes that remind you of you.
This course will not help you adjust to studio yoga classes; in fact, it may make you like them less. (Please note: I don’t feel classes are bad. Classes are great place to begin and learn techniques, and to stay inspired or learn new things. BUT as a personal deeply fulfilling practice, it just lacks the depth and direction of what personal practice can bring.)
My yoga is my personal practice of bringing myself back into the flow and balance. I strive (really more like relaxing into seeing more than striving) to look beyond my own practice to see what someone else may need, even if it’s contrary to what I believe. So I look to something bigger to help mirror what I need to see. It takes a willing courageous heart to honestly see what may not be easy and take action from a place of depth. Yoga is my personal part of the whole, where I enter the door to the whole. It’s my love, my life, and it ALWAYS involves nature.
I wrote this course because it breaks my heart to hear others talk about yoga as if it’s a stretching class. It breaks my heart to have this beautiful practice of contemplation, stillness, movement, peace, breath and feeling be relegated to hamstrings and handstands (I LOVE handstands, by the way). I wrote this course as an ‘ode’ to what a true yoga practice is to me. More often than not, it doesn’t have a mat.