How a relationship impacted my yoga practice & tips on moving forward
International Yoga Day. It’s kind of a big deal...Or, at least it is for me.
I wrote a blog post on International Yoga Day last year talking about my yoga journey and the progress I’d made. Little did I know, a few days later my world would unravel before me due to a pretty messed up love affair happening before my very eyes, and my yoga practice would be greatly impacted.
Once my then-boyfriend and I broke up, the mess unfolded and my friend group was split in half. Feeling unwanted, not good enough, not “yogi” enough, simply not enough and at the same time, too much for anyone to love me fully, I retreated to my yoga room. Spending hours in there, alone. Flowing, sweating, crying. Feeling better. Feeling worse. All the while progressing in my physical practice. I have tons of pictures from that time where my backbends were deep, heart openers were super open and I felt really physically strong. I *thought* I was “doing everything right” to move on. Being mature. Not being vengeful, which was an attractive option that would come up. “Getting over it”. Being strong and positive for the simple fact that’s what I'd always do after a breakup.
As summer and fall passed by I came back to my mat, in my yoga room day after day, sticking to “healing” as quickly and gracefully as possible knowing I am a badass woman and no one will ever treat me that way again. Focused. Positive. Committed to growing through this shit. Of course, the healing process was out of my control from a time perspective. I needed time to heal. I still need time to heal. I am still healing.
After going through a “turn you inside out, expose all of your fears, find yourself, life-changing” yoga teacher training from November to March, I was better than I was 6 months prior...different than I was 1 year ago. I’ll never forget the realization I had in camel pose during teacher training where I fully felt how much I’d been holding back in my practice. And, at the end of that practice I laid in savasana crying, absolutely angry at my ex. SO angry I wanted to scream. It was the first time - in SIX months - that I allowed myself to be ANGRY at him.
During these months I cried in my practices, meditations, group shares, in my car and in my bed at night as I went through this transformational process. I had a lot of lies I needed to get out of me... “I’m fine. It doesn’t even matter. I’m going to be alone forever. I’m too much for people. I shouldn’t be so upset.” so on and so on.., but, I learned that it does matter. Everything I’ve been through, due to choices I’ve made, has deeply truly mattered to getting me to where I am right now.
The best part? As soon as I started to crack open and meet myself where I was, I met someone. Someone who is completely honest with me. Someone I can be completely honest with. Someone I can tell all of this shit to and who loves me through it. Someone who doesn’t judge me or belittle me. Someone who I admire daily, because of his deep passion to be better and better the world. As soon my life started to shift, I met my human. There’s no other way to explain it but saying it was definitely a God thing.
In the past year I’ve learned a lot through my practice and dealing with that weird relationship:
Yoga is NOT a competition and everyone should feel welcome and comfortable to explore THEIR practice in THEIR body. Regardless if you ever do a handstand or backbend in your life. YOGA IS FOR EVERYONE.
Yoga doesn’t have to be serious or perfect. It is so much more fun to laugh while you flow, to crank the music up and let your body take over. To fall over, to try different things. To just MOVE and be present.
Integrity is the utmost important measure of a good person.
AKA, what you say + what you do + what you think are all in alignment.
I’ll go ahead and say it, there are a lot of “popular yogis” out there who are way out of alignment (in my opinion). It’s all a huge mind-f%ck when you’re scrolling through Instagram looking for inspiration and a tribe that resonates with you. You have to be very careful of who you follow, online and in real-life. Protect your own inner-self and be cautious of people who make you feel inadequate, irrelevant or not good enough. They are NOT your tribe and you shouldn’t waste your time soaking in their nonsense.
I get to decide. I get to decide when I practice, how I practice, who I practice with. I get to decide what I eat. What I won’t put up with. What I want to spend my time on. Who to follow. Who to unfollow. How I show up in the world.
Until you sit in the fire, you may never truly feel the power of yoga and connection that’s possible. You can practice yoga every damn day, post pictures and show the world how wonderfully you’re progressing but it doesn’t mean anything unless you’re also working on your mental and spiritual self too. Find a coach, a mentor, read books, do trainings. Do NOT go it alone - you will only get so far.
You can only meet people up to where you’ve met yourself. I was living in a shallow, lost, “look at me” world and that’s exactly what I had attracted to be around me. I was going through the motions, sharing the “fun moments” on social media and then laying in silence each night afraid to speak up and say “WHAT THE FUCK DUDE!?”. Find your voice and speak up. If something seems off, change it. Remember, you get to decide.
Honesty is the only way. No matter how ugly, messy, painful or embarrassing it may be. Honesty with yourself. Honesty in ALL of your relationships. Honesty in what you post online. And, honesty in how you show up in the world.
Today, I acknowledge myself and the work that I’ve done, and all who are on their journey to bettering themselves (and ultimately the world). I am grateful for this practice, for my teacher training, for my loved ones who support me, and for being able to teach yoga. It is an honor to have students show up to my classes and be able to spend an hour with them sharing my love for yoga.
I hope you each find what feels good for you and embrace it fully. It doesn’t have to be yoga or writing or cooking. Let it be what sets your soul on fire. And then, never let that fire burn out. Do what you love, every damn day, because you deserve to live a life that turns you on!