Much of my education has been though world exploration. My journey as a yoga student officially began in the ancient temple grounds of Hariharalaya, Cambodia. However, the more I study yoga, I realize that much of the philosophies have resonated with me all along.
- Respect for nature and science, check
- Encouragement of free thought and discernment, check
- The belief that we are all connected energetically to a bigger picture, check.
- The belief that life is always better barefoot.. check!
When I started my first student program, I didn’t have the flexibility to touch my toes and I would walk out of meditations, frustrated that I couldn’t calm my monkey mind. I didn’t think I could ever be “good” at yoga, and it didn’t come easy. My teachers, who continue to guide me to this day, were adamant on each student developing their personal practice. Something to do anywhere, anytime, in whatever state we are in. Through them, I learned the foundations for pranayama, asana, food as medicine, karma yoga, principles of energy and Tantra and so much more.
After I left the temple, I was in motion again, now with a deeper understanding of the enchanting temples I was exploring. I was having the time of my life, maxing out passports and meeting incredible people and having incredible experiences. As a traveler knows, there are moments when one might feel a pang of homesickness. There is a vulnerability in travelling alone, supporting yourself for years at a time, so far from home. When I was having one of these moods, it was tempting to skype home, seeking comfort externally. Sometimes I did. One day, it occurred to me that I was likely making my loved ones feel so helpless. I was on the other side of the planet, there was not much they could do, that my mental health was ultimately my responsibility. One day, tempted to call home, I decided to go to the temple instead and do as the locals do, sit and meditate on it. I realized, using the tools I had learned, I could dust the debris in my mind sorting out the problem on my own. It was empowering! As the days passed on the road, I would continue to use meditation as my coping strategy, finding stillness while in motion.
The pandemic has affected us all individually. We have all been forced to slow down or stop in some capacity. As an airline worker, my industry was gravely affected and suddenly I had a lot of time on my hands. It gave me an opportunity to do something I’ve always wanted to do, my first yoga teacher training. I completed my RYT 200 through Pure Living Yoga. I realized that you don’t have to be on the other side of the planet, immersed in Buddhist culture to find a like minded community. Over the pandemic, I have leaned into the practice more than ever to cope with the many changes we are all feeling. It’s empowering to know there are actions we can take to keep our immunity up and mental health in check. My teachers reminded me that, if we want to heal the earth, we must heal ourselves first. I believe at this time we are all being called to do so.
I’m still travelling extensively, just in a different direction- inward. We all have the ability to feel more at ease, even blissful, in our bodies and minds. We just need to show up to our practice. Yoga is in the mind first and foremost. We can help find balance in an unbalanced world.
See you on the mat!