Guest Post by Carly Stong, Retreat Facilitator
As a yoga teacher and active member of my local and global yogic communities, I am always seeking to deepen my knowledge. I often look in yoga-based magazines, books and online resources to expand or grow my personal practice and, by extension, what I offer as a teacher. While this continual search has lead me to some of the most profound experiences of my life, it has also lead me to discover some misunderstandings of yoga as a trend – a branded yoga, a sexualized yoga, a fashionable yoga, and a yoga for “losing those stubborn 10 lbs. FAST!”. It has also lead me to question where I fit in the yogic world because I do not see many bigger bodied yogis in the images representing yoga.
This is not the yoga that I know. This is not the yoga that I crawl to on my knees for salvation in my darkest hour, or the yoga that fills me with light and freedom. My yoga can’t be ‘selfied’. It is not owned by a corporation. It is not better than or worse than.The yoga I know is me, at home in my body, in this moment. My yoga is inclusive, welcoming, and liberating. She enables me to live fully and love deeply. To be as grounded in the ebb as I am in the flow.
Once, I lost touch with my yoga. I neglected our relationship and allowed myself to be caught up in the rush of my day-to-day life. You see, my practice does not always mirror back to me the lovely and blissful. It can reflect back to me what is tortuous, unrelenting, ugly and uncomfortable within me, such as the need to face my fears of change. It seemed easier to keep busy rather than be accountable to the steady beat of my own heart, guiding me to make these ‘scary’ changes that would keep me on my truest path. I missed my yoga at first, but it gradually got easier to get swallowed up by the hypnotic siren virus that is busyness.
Then, I took myself to The Edge, deep into nature. Cutting off from technology and creature comforts, I had nothing to busy myself with. There, in pre-dawn blackness that was so deep it swallowed and filled me all at once, I was silent enough to hear her softly calling to me. I dove into a darkness so thick that I could not see my own hand held at the tip of my nose…
Alone and dressed in nothing but the night, I found my true yoga again. Alone, I could not hear any voice telling me that my body isn’t right, doesn’t fit or isn’t beautiful. I could not see with my physical eyes; I could only feel with the eyes of my heart. I saw my truest self without vision. I knew her. I was her.
How to come home to your yoga:
Close your eyes and enter the silence of your heart. Feeling the eyes of your heart opening, explore the question:
* I wonder what it would be like to be at home in my body?
* What does being at home in my body feel like, sound like, smell like, taste like, look like?
* What can I release in my daily life to create more space for being at home in my body?
* What is a place I can visit, or an activity I can do that helps me be at home in my body, even if it is just for five minutes a day?