March 5, 2016

Home Practice #7: Devotion

 If you listen gently, all areas of life worth living whisper divinely asking for devotion with an equal dose of relinquishing.  

After two years of home practice and study with occassional weekly, or monthly yoga classes with a variety of great teachers, my practice has left the building! Ashtanga has always called out to me because I saw that it had the ability to free me. My body, my mind, my cells, my heart, my spirit and my soul (my abs too). Like a wave crashing on a rock, or a surfer riding that perfect wave it can be felt in a most undeniable way, from a far distance. Unwavering dedication like to our babies, a lover, or dear friend is what sets the liberation in motion. 

My home practice went as far as it was going to go without a teacher, consistent daily practice and a yoga community. After two weeks of class, I can feel this space inside me opening up in a brand new way. I'm moving forward and getting freer. 
For years I've had this sort of aching feeling in the center of my back. Ironically, my sister and mother also feel this same tension in the same place of their backs. 
That tension is leaving me now. 
I can feel a full body unraveling, like the petals of a flower opening, blossoming. 
It's very tangible and so real, reaching into all areas of my life.

Stress withers away with this practice. It's my daily dose of therapy and pampering. 
The power of a yoga teacher, like a sage, or a spiritual guide has the ability to send people, once in a cocoon, out of their class a butterfly to live the life they have been craving. 
They are true healers and they give us the ability to unveil ourselves. Where there was once pain, there will be portals. My decisions have been so clear lately, which is having a huge impact on the direction of mine and my families future.

All of the teachers have had a profound effect on me, even though I've been quietly moving in and out of class, mostly. Loren Russo and her assists have shown me things inside myself that I didn't know were there. Her adjustments of my twists have shown me how my body should feel and what that energy is that does somersaults inside of me every single day and how to communicate with it.
Although I'm dripping with sweat, she comes behind me like a bright light, gently broadens my shoulders, guides me to turn just a little further, directs my gaze and hand placement. As I'm panting, or grunting, she shows me it's safe to fall back into her, while instructing me to plant myself firmly into the ground with my legs and feet. She seems to know my body better than I do for a few moments.

My legs, arms and back have always been strong, but asking my core to engage in all of this brings up so much emotion. Sensing myself enough to practice Bandhas and body locks could help make this so much easier if I would just listen, but I never not once judge my practice. This is my practice. My practice. My journey of the self, through the self to the self. 
Asking my chest to open widely and allow me to spread my wings dredges tears from I don't know where, but they are cleansing me from the inside out and I won't stop.

Allowing my hamstrings to be melted little by little...
The coconut oil, shea butter, argan oil, breath and agni...are gifts.
Reaching in bow as I watch  myself in the mirror, not resisting in pigeon and allowing the crystal healer that seemed to fly in from the clouds to work his magic on my blockages-
It's all vulnerability taking me deeper, further and changing me into a healthier, happier, clearer version of myself. 

I'm learning to say the opening and closing mantra's. Some of it feels instinctual, like I've been here before. I'm still struggling with some of the flow of the words in Sanskrit, but it feels powerful leaving my lips with a little bit of my soul on it, while feeling the vibrations of those around me. Loren translates the "gist" of what they mean so well. "Because I want more peace of mind and stability in life, I am now going to practice yoga as it has been passed down since time immemorial." Her interpretation, "For the peaceful resolution of the deluding nature of repetitive existence, I bow at the lotus feet of the Gurus, and behold the awakened joy of my own Soul; this is the ultimate refuge that acts like a shaman, a true source of spiritual enlightenment."
Her Kirtan has makes me cry almost every time. All this talk of crying...
I called my sister Kate on the day I didn't leave class with tears in celebration, like I'd reached a milestone. It's involuntary, but I don't want to let it freak me out. I'm diving into those layers of myself and swimming like a dolphin right through the riptides. I'm not alone.
I know there is something waiting there for me. It's me. I won't stop until I find her and set her free more and more. Even if it means crying in a room full of people, dripping sweat, and seriously leaving smelling offensive to those around me.
I'm working on ingesting more and more essential oils & cleaning up my nutrition to remedy the stench effect of hot yoga & Ashtanga so stay tuned and don't let that deter you from practicing with me.
I'll make it all smell like roses soon enough. 

Allow the softness to speak all of its natural wisdom and fly freely within that space. 

Share your practice stories with me! 

Thanks for reading. Sarah xx


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