I was in such a state of disempowerment and mental depression at that time in my life. I’m amazed that I even signed up for the training looking back. I was physically overweight, felt stuck in an uninspiring job and was in mental turmoil. I knew I was reaching for something that might help me shift from feeling disempowered to something that would give me the internal strength and fortitude to help me create a life of conscious design.
I was coming out of a dark night of the soul at the time. That particular “dark night” lasted six years. I feel lucky in a way that I was allowed to go through the dark night of the soul completely unmedicated as I imagine if I had ever sought out clinical help I would have been prescribed something to deaden the internal pain and anethestize the intense feelings that were coursing through my body at the time. I am in no way suggesting this route for anyone else, but for my own karma and soul’s evolution I feel blessed to have had the unspoken permission to truly feel the feelings of depression, disempowerment and disappointment that were so prevalent in my experience at that time.
I had been raised primarily by my single Mother who taught me to own and truly experience my feelings. I remember many times my mother saying to my father “don’t break her spirit”. It took me years to unpack what that really meant, why my mother felt a need to say it and why that statement made such a strong impact on my psyche. It was never so much about my father, as it was about the fact that I seemed to have been born with the blessing and burden of coming into this world feeling life very deeply. My sensitively spanned the ability to experience pure ecstatic embodied bliss and joy to deep grief for the suffering of other people, animals and even the environment.
My mother had been raised in an era and culture where feelings were often stifled, stuffed down and shunned. Her response to her own upbringing was to explore another way of raising her own daughters. She became a spiritual seeker and through her own experiences evolved into a forward thinking, compassionate person that gave me permission to feel without condemnation, guilt or shame. She taught my sister and me to take responsibility for our own feelings, to honor them and to resists the temptation to project them on to others. We were allowed to feel, and taught to self reflect.
Modern society offers very little in the way of learning how to manage feelings and even bodily sensations. As a coach, teacher and guide to others I have seen definitively that it’s not just me, if you barely scratch the surface of most anyone’s outer persona you will often discover a technicolor world of feelings, thought constructs and emotions just swirling beneath the surface. The inner feelings, conflicting thoughts and bodily sensations are most especially alive and potent when people are faced with life transitions, are uncovering years of supression, are recovering from trauma or are trying to heal what feels like karma. It seems to be the way we are designed, we are exquisitely feeling and complexly thinking beings, for better or worse.
Some believe that old memories, traumas, emotions and even karmas, can somehow get lodged in the tissues of the body, embedded in the neural pathways of the mind and trapped in the energy pathways of the nervous system and subtle body if not properly processed, and transformed. It’s an interesting theory, that rings true for many.
Modern western culture only seems to offer two options when dealing with difficult mental constructs and emotions - suppress them or medicate them. When people learn to fully acknowledge, transform and alchemize their thoughts, the raw energy of their emotions and bodily sensations through yoga, somatic therapy, ceremony, mindfulness practice and other healing modalities they often realize they’ve found the key to embodied spirituality, powerful creativity and healthy sexuality.
When I found the practice of yoga and meditation I realized I had found a refuge for self reflection as well as an elegant practice of deep self care and self respect through mental and emotional discernment, energy cultivation and self healing. Yoga and meditation became a training ground for me hone my skill at learning to release or transmute emotions and alchemically transform mental habituations to make way for the natural energetic forces that govern ecstatic embodiment, mental quiescence, hormonal satisfaction and pure presence.
As I began to apply the practice of yogic self study to my own mental/emotional processes many things in my inner and outer experience began to transform.
It’s hard to imagine my life now had I not taken that first yoga training. I suppose I would have found someway to break out of the mental/emotional hardship I was in but it’s hard to envision a path with more beauty, creativity and inner and outer empowerment then what I have found and now share with others through yoga. There are very few other complete embodiment systems that simultaneously help to heal, awaken, transform, soften and strengthen a person. When we really engage the full spectrum of yoga we are working and practicing intellectually, mentally, physically, physiologically, spiritually, hormonally, energetically and beyond...
True yoga doesn’t ask for a person to come to the practice with any sort of talent or ability, or even any clearly defined reason for being curious about the practice. Many find their way spontaneously to the yoga mat or meditation cushion with a vague inkling that somehow there’s more of life to be discovered - not by attaining anything or becoming “better” but by going inside to discover their own true nature.
It has been my experience and I have witnessed it in others, that if you do take to the practice of full spectrum yoga and the life affirming world view - it will transform, awaken and continually inspire you! To be clear - yoga is not a cure all - there is no "cure" for the very real challenges of living. What yoga does give us is a very well provisioned "tool kit/medicine bag/store house" of tested and true techniques and teachings that can make all the difference in how we navigate and thrive across the beautiful and sometimes overwhelming terrain of both the inner and outer worlds.
If you would like the opportunity to take a deeper dive to discover the effects of full spectrum yoga, the philosophy and embodied practice for yourself then join me and a heart tribe circle of others for the upcoming 200 hour Yoga Alliance approved Surya Soma Yoga Teachers Training in Ashland, Oregon.
You don’t have to know you want to be a yoga teacher to join us. You only have to want to deepen your own understanding and embodied experience of yoga to take this amazing journey into the very heart and soul of yourself, through the well trodden path of yoga.
For more information on the Surya Soma Yoga training please visit here.