“This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival” ~Rumi
Last Wednesday I unrolled my yoga mat with nearly 500 other yogis. Together we lined up with only inches to spare on the deck of the USS Wisconsin. The class was a celebration of endings and beginnings. The community of Norfolk is rich with culture. It is vibrant. It is alive. Part of that community is Bhav Brigade – a group of yoga instructors determined to make yoga accessible to everyone by eliminating barriers and bringing openness to each practice. This class was a farewell to one of their founders, but also a congratulations as she steps into the next chapter of her life.
Every time I unroll my yoga mat, I believe it’s an opportunity to welcome something new. It is a beginning. When I show up empty and open, I am always gifted with exactly what I need. This class was no different.
While the deck of the boat was filled with my friends, I found myself shoulder to shoulder with strangers. Before class even began, I knew this class belonged to me. As I sat on my mat staring over the river, I was flooded by the urge to shed: emotions, anxiety, and the weight on my body. Everything felt heavy.
The yoga practice began, and my body resisted the movement. My head fought back as I tried to settle myself. Finally it happened. I arrived on my mat.
Prompted by the yoga instructor, I brought my attention to what I was holding on to? What are you holding on to? What of that is no longer serving you? As I took physical inventory, my body melted. My jaw relaxed. My shoulders dropped. My chest opened. I found the way into my practice.
Just like the best runs, my physical existence always directly connects to my emotional existences. Moving my body always exposes every aspect of my life. My yoga practice is the same. When I relax my jaw, I relax my heart. When my shoulders drop, my breath deepens. When I settle into my yoga mat or my stride, I settle into my life.
Life has felt a little chaotic lately. The full moon brought with it full energy. My pace has been a little too fast to feel settled. I have found myself asking the same questions my yoga instructor asked me last Wednesday. What am I holding on to? What is no longer serving me?
Life is reminding me to slow down. It is reminding me to be intentional. It’s reminding me to take inventory of what I’m holding on to and what is serving me. Every morning, every time I unroll my yoga mat or I put on my running shoes, I have a choice. I can show up empty and open, I can welcome what arrives, or I can hold myself back.
Embracing the flow of life is my greatest struggle. I speed things up, I push too fast, and I forget to settle.
Today I took my practice to the trails. Tired is clinging to me. Instead of forcing the run, I listened. I slowed down. I walked. I enjoyed the views, the fresh air, and the dirt beneath my feet. Movement is movement. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far I go. Real growth in life comes from the moments when we let go and met ourselves where we are at in life.
I am craving depth and light. Every part of me wants to shed the extra weight I’m carrying with me. I want openness. This is where I’m placing my priority this season. I know that summer can be a hard season for me. Heat can be restrictive. It makes it hard for me to breathe. I’m not fighting it this season. I’m welcoming it, and I’m giving myself the tools I need to remain open.
Embracing the flow of life, existing without expectations, and following the path that allows me to breath deeply is the only direction I’m willing to head this summer.