When I first joined A Yoga Village, I was really into the hot yoga scene. I loved the hot yoga classes they offered. I loved the sequence. I loved to sweat. And, I loved to challenge myself and go deeper into some of the more difficult and amazing postures. I would look around at some of the other students, the young and agile yogis, wishing I was that bendy, that balanced and strong enough to hold a pose balanced on one leg for a whole minute. Boy! Those minutes were long. The tighter I tried to hold the pose, the more I would wobble. I’d look around hoping I wouldn’t be the first one to fall out of the pose. I wasn’t always the first but I would invariably fall out.
A particular instructor at this studio, Barney Chapman, would bring a little spirituality into the practice. He’d make you actually connect to what you were doing by inviting you to be a witness to your thoughts and actions. This was the first time I began to connect the dots between an ego path and a spiritual path. He would say, “Where your attention goes, your energy flows.”
I realized that by looking at all the other students being where I wanted to be, I became unbalanced because I had lost the connection with my body and breath. My mind was elsewhere. I had left me and gone to another. My attention had flown away from me. I had no power to be in the moment. I wasn’t a human being anymore. I was a human not-being. I was not-being because I was trying to be someone else.
Where your attention goes, your energy flows.
Embracing these words, I found my postures becoming more graceful. I stopped forcing myself and began to sit comfortably exactly where I was. I stopped trying to emulate others and started to be with me. I began to feel my power and open my mind as well as my body. I began to release. That release allowed me to let go of anything that served me no longer.
Most of my life, I have walked the ego path. I’ve compared myself to others, judged myself, judged others. I’ve been competitive. I’ve been unkind. I’ve been untruthful at times not only to others but worse, I’ve lied to myself. I’ve realized over time that such actions leads to an unhappiness of spirit. I’ve experienced shallow friendships, rejection, belittling and broken promises. Please don’t think I’m coming down hard on myself because I have also been successful, kind, compassionate, humorous, forgiving (of myself as well as others), creative and hard-working.
As a life-force energy with a human body and ego mind, and a few years into my yoga practice and teaching, it has become easier to embrace a spiritual path. It’s not a path where I go alone and sit for hours trying to get rid of my chattering monkey mind. Rather it is a path where I go alone to embrace and witness the chattering without engaging in it emotionally. The chattering is there simply to keep me safe by bringing up what could go wrong or be harmful. The chattering is also there to inspire me to be creative and productive. Without emotionally engaging in the chattering, I can look at my thoughts and make conscious decisions based on awareness rather than a reactive instinct based on past experiences.
That’s how we can change our circumstances if we don’t like where we are. We can witness our past and act in the present to serve our future. This is what yoga has taught me. I’ve learnt from great teachers like Jaye Martin and Rita Knorr, and the most important thing they teach is that we all have a teacher within. We all have the answers to live authentically, to live our truths. Where there is truth, there is no need for explanations, competition, judgment, intolerance or blame.
My truth is that I am perfect as I am. I’m perfect in this moment just as you are perfect in this moment as you read these words. Nothing else exists. So why be anything other than your unique perfect Self.
I was blessed with a beautiful mind. I chose not to let my mind enslave me by adhering to past traumas and negative memories that only serve to hurt our physical body and spirit. I don’t want to live a life surrounded by thick body armor where no one can connect with me. I don’t want to live a life where love can’t get through and happiness smacks against a brick wall.
From an early age, I was able to sit and reflect. I now understand that love and happiness is innate within us all. It’s something that as humans we long for… a happy, loving state of being. That is the essence of a human being.
Life happens. It’s our thinking that creates fear, bias, intolerance, competition, false truths, wars, and ultimately, separates us from our life-force energy. We become slaves to our thoughts and circumstances rather than captains of our minds and masters of our destiny.
As my life flows, I call to the divine within. The divine energy that flows through me and all things seen and unseen.
May the Grace of the Divine flow through me.