Yoga: the Journey to Being Present

Several years ago I was going through a long term breakup that even though was my decision still brought about feelings of sadness, loneliness, and fear.  One day I was having a particularly difficult time and had spent the morning crying.  I decided I needed to get onto my yoga mat so I headed to the studio where I taught to take class with one of my favorite teachers in hopes of forgetting my woes and acquiring a better mood.  I strolled into class with my heart on my sleeve only to hear that the theme was LOVE and all of the songs on the playlist were about falling in love, staying in love, love, love, love, love, love!  Now the teacher’s intention was to create a class about loving yourself but when you have just spent the morning slinging snot over your failed 5 year relationship, loving myself just wasn’t what I had in mind.

Oh cruel fate!!!  

I spent the ENTIRE class crying.  It started out softly but eventually I choose to get the heck out of dodge and go sob it out in the bathroom.  And, I was MAD!  

I was mad at the teacher for creating such a sappy playlist.  I was mad at her for talking about loving yourself.  But I was really mad that I couldn’t escape from my reality.  Didn’t she know I was here to feel better?  Didn’t she know I wanted to practice so that I wouldn’t have to feel?   I wanted to leave, I wanted to run!!  But I had left my mat in the studio.  Could I sneak back in and swipe my mat with no one noticing??  There were so many of my own students in that class.  What would they think if I packed up my things after crying uncontrollably throughout class?  But something inside me stirred.  Something inside of me said, “Don’t run, you’ll feel better on your mat.  Just go back in.  It will be okay.”

So I made a choice in that bathroom stall to go back in and finish the class.  I blew my nose, wiped my face and headed back into the studio to complete what I had started.  As I began to practice again, I reset my intention of showing up for myself exactly where I was.  To let go of my own expectations and fears of being judged as a teacher and to allow myself to be the student.   To allow myself to feel with complete surrender.   

During pigeon pose, one of my regular students got off her mat, came over, and put her hands on my back to show me love and support.  One of my students actually assisted me.  It was the single most kindest, loving action I could have experienced.  

And so it was in pigeon pose that I truly let go.

And a beautiful experienced occurred.  It was then that I realized that I had been using yoga as a way to completely check out of reality.  I started to understand the true meaning of yoga which is to yoke or unify.  Unify ourselves to our true, highest self and others.  Yoga isn’t meant for us to use to checkout or escape from reality but to become intimately up close and personal with it.   To be able to laugh, cry, get angry, throw snot, accept love, and find peace all rolled up into one.   

Keegan White E-RYT 500