Just like my asana practice, my meditation practice never stays the same. It evolves with me and I know I can access it at any point in my day. It may be a deep breath or the repetition of a mantra. Whatever it is on any given day I am extremely grateful for those few moments of stillness. Of clarity. Of coming back down to Earth.
I wrote about the moment of connection I watched unfold as the gold light of the sun caressed the cold, dark layers of the Earth. Slowly waking and warming. Breathing life into the depths of winter. I wrote about how it appeared as though the Earth was taking a big belly breath in and out. Because in that moment, I too, was taking the deepest breath I have felt in a long time. Did you ever just breathe? Have you ever stopped for a moment and really felt your breath? When is the last time you did?
Without that plane ride, without the fracture boot on my ankle that sparked conversation, I would have never made it to Uganda. Call it what you will—divine intervention, fate, serendipity, ‘the woo’—whatever you choose, just know it is out there. I have witnessed it, experienced it, felt it. If you take anything from this post or whole series of posts I hope it is just that. That hope and trust and a little bit of weird happenings will take you a long way.
I thought back to what got me out of my head and into my body and this is what I decided to try. It is a way to warm up the body and warm up the mind. It is a way to begin your practice without overthinking everything like what fancy transitions and flowy gracefulness to incorporate. You match your inhales and exhales to each pose in the sequence, you end, then begin again, and continue.
Little did I know I would be where I am now, doing what I am doing, living a drastically different life, but feeling the same heaviness forcing me to slow down and to confront the ugly that is so necessary to grow. Growth is a process. It is ten feet by ten feet. It is a path with changing elevations and no definitive destination. But if given the choice, I would choose the crazy path over being stagnant every single time.
I finally made it to the first rest hut and knew I had to go back. I really had no other choice as the tree stumps were turning into animals in my mind. (Yes, I was hallucinating.) I did see three, REAL golden monkeys, a few mountain buffalo and 2 really big earth worms.
I am not saying there isn’t big magic in the small things because there is, have you ever played high fives in the middle of a village with a small child and giggled for 2 hours straight? That is magic. But when it comes to where we find our calling, our purpose, our why why why… our comfort zone may not be the best place to live.
This isn’t technically yoga, but it is life. It is reality. And we practice yoga to help us get through life. The good, the bad, the really, really ugly. It is there to be our constant, our comfort. It teaches us to reflect, to gain perspective, to take the small wins and turn them into big ones.
An hour and one physically challenging class later, I felt like a little part of me returned that I didn’t even know was missing. The class was so different, yet very much the same. We did the poses we are all familiar with only they were instructed so differently, there was SO much laughter, and there was a sense of freedom to come and go from the class as you please. Simply, just to come as you are because you made it to your mat whether it was for 5 minutes for 60. Isn’t that what yoga truly is about?
Goodbye is not a dirty word. It is O.K., it is healthy, it is how you grow. We live in a world where the urge to stay connected forever and always is constantly looming over us. Our phones, the internet, apps, airplanes, maybe one day teleportation, make it easier than ever to hold onto things that no longer serve us. Saying goodbye is a practice, just like yoga, just like everything else.