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Growing Yoga Pains and Gains

I had yoga up on this pedestal for many years because it felt so important to who I was becoming and so essential to why I was even exploring myself beyond what I had been modelled growing up.  It was like a famous person walked in the room everytime I would complete another session basking in savasana with the sense of awe for all I my numb spots thawing out and equal nervousness for all the fears and doubts I had yet to face.  I had some how got lost along the way in the flashing lights of other peoples cameras that captured me in their viewpoint and I wanted so badly for them to see what they wanted to see in me.  I realized slowly in the dedication of another practice finished that I was still focused on the achievement of it all.   I was lying to myself and everyone else around me wanting the world to only see what I thought would validate me as enough.  Yoga let me see this for myself.  And that beginner Moksha Sequence was so relevant to my needs of needing something extremely predictable to begin the process of truly feeling the parts of my self that were so volatile in the jungle of venomous beliefs inside me.  The repetition allowed me space to feel beyond the noise outside to hear some of the taunts and terrors I had kept busy to avoid on the inside.  I was sincerely lost but yet the practice gave me a stable ground to feel more of history,  reveal more of my repressed dreams and bask more often in appreciation for the moment right in front of me.

Looking back I see a baby showing up to the mat who eventually learned to roll over and see the world from a new vantage point.  And this lead to a movement, although inefficient and slow, towards a more heart curious aspect of my own experience.  The creeping found crawling in the form of becoming a yoga teacher also in its infancy and I began to need more territory to explore and more challenges to overcome.  For me this looked like creating sequences outside of the confines of the crib I had started in.  Because I was living in the  frozen North isolated from the yoga culture that was building steam at such a tsunami pace, I some how wasn’t caught up in any of the opinions, judgements, comparisons or limitations that comes with anything mainstream.  I was able to create in collaboration with other timid yoga toddlers a space where we practiced and taught uninhibited by any rules.  Our metaphorical yoga backyard was vast in space to run and luscious in tress to climb and stimulated by other kids in which to play.  It was a sanctuary of creative expression that allowed our first steps into being more honest versions of our unique selves uninhibited by too many rules or restrictions.  And combined with all the wonderful trainings and workshops I travelled to attend in different perspectives and deliveries of how yoga has been embodied, I was blessed to always return back to my safe cocoon to filter and forage what fundamental aspects of each perspective awoke the passionate parts inside of me that would nurture fresh and hydrating fruits for my continued growth into creating my own version of why yoga mattered to me.  My fellow yogi friends “that lived on my street” were so much fun to adventure dynamic dream worlds that became our realities in the form of life changing yoga teacher trainings, retreats to exotic places, events that brought together spiritual and artistic underworld of our industrial town, and established bonds with each other and our community that leveraged a shift expansive in possibility.  We encouraged and celebrated each other without needing to compare one and other for our unique way of relating to yoga.  And this truly was the so much like the long summer days as a kid when school was on break and each day was full of innovative exploration,  boundary pushing thrill and unstoppable laughter.

But as you know like when you were a kid, school would go back in to session with the seasons changing and it would be time to sink or swim in the sea of hormones that was the initiation into teenage hood.  A messy, dramatic and intensely insightful time into who, how, why and when you would spend your time, chose your friends and develop your character.  This in my yoga evolution was moving to a big city with a yoga studio on every second block and a level of underlying and unspoken competition.  And this is where I also inevitably felt my yoga pedastal crumble in front of me just as when I was a teenage girl finding out my coach wasn’t the amazing man I convinced myself he was or that my dad didn’t have all the answers. My perceptions shattered that these people weren’t heroes, they were just people doing their best with what they knew how.  At first I wanted to hold a grudge and quit yoga just like I wanted to resent my coach and quit the sport all together.  But I built too many wonderful relationships to walk away so immaturely.  And I decided to create a new way of being with my yoga career and practice all together that allowed me to hold full accountability in my hardwork or lack their of at times, for the results of my life around me.  And my love of yoga began to mature into something more symbiotic and founded in balance.

Business and yoga need some more life experience just like I did as a teenager when I thought I knew better than my parents.  The thing is alot of the time I did know better but only for what was better for me, and I just wanted to have permission to express me honestly but that was not always met with love or praise or support.  All of the adults around me were placing expectations and perspectives on me in a way that felt like I was drowning sometimes in the need to be enough.  My experience of being a yoga teacher in franchised studios with owners like parents that all had their own unique set of conditions triggered the part of me that I had abandoned back in my teens.  And this time, in meeting this same tight spot, I wanted to make a different choice.  I wanted to honour my own unique voice, expression and perspective on life as I stepped into the adult I wanted to be and knew underneath I always was. I deeply respect and appreciate all of what those daring yoga leaders and teachers were doing too, even if it wasn’t what I wanted.  So out of deep gratitude and genuine admiration, I decided to bravely seek out places and spaces and community’s that were open minded to what I was excited to share.

This brings me to now, the moment of full commitment to myself and my heart over what others will think or how they will receive me.  Not from this fuck you, I am angry place, but from this deeply loving and inspired to live “my life” to the fullest kind of way.  Where I cherish and hold sincerely the teachings that inform a yogi’s life.

Ahimsa – beyond the judgments and harm that come with being human I am dedicated to loving myself and others unconditionally,

Satya – I am willing to be vulnerable in the truth even when I have to admit I am wrong or change direction because someone’s else opinion doesn’t resonate,

Asteya – I am more than enough and there is more than enough so I don’t need to steal a single second from my life’s greatest calling,

Bramacharya – focusing more efficiently to direct my energy more positively through my thoughts, words and actions,

Aprarigraha – not attached to the outcome or destination rather enjoying the journey and moving through life from the heart of myself rather than from needing certain result.

This is what yoga means to me more than the poses made up by someone in a stamp of time in a set of circumstances very different from my own or the specifics of alignment designed for another persons body, or the particular sequence of poses that were developed as brilliant duplicable and accessible business models.  And in me saying this, I do not think those things are bad… my introduction to yoga and the amazing teachers I have learned from are all holding or sharing those viewpoints and that have influenced the bright hearted person I continue to become.  But this practice has lead me to outgrow it in its need to be a certain form of movements or breath cues and inspired me to feel free in my soul to love it all for where it has gotten me so far.

As I continue to practice meeting myself silently at the edge of the ocean or the sit cushion beside my bed, I upload the bullshit to send to trash and download the gratitude of my experience of opportunities unlimited.  My niyama force is strong as I take full responsibility for my own life.  I saucha the shit out of my mind so my heart can shine in the purification that comes in commitment to a clean house and picking up the plastic I come across as I stroll the beaches.  Santosha contentedly has found me living my life in the satisfaction of the choices I consciously am making and the outcomes that it brings comfortable and uncomfortable, challenging and fluid, magical and mundane.  My tapas is on fire with the discipline that comes more naturally when I am ignited by the fuel my own inner purposefulness that mostly looks different than what I was taught.  I svadhyaya step by stage everyday I turn the page in my self study to be humbled again by how much I don’t know and will continue for all of eternity to learn and grow.  My biggest struggle is in the surrender to Ishvara Pranidhana, the faith and divine unfolding, yet somehow when I am fully enveloped in its sweet embrace its all I know to be true and so I continue the journey of my practice that has brought me here in my adulthood of yoga that appears long and arduous, yet enlightening and absolutely fulfilling.  And it is here that I have birthed my child Body Intelligence yoga.  My first baby.  And my most sincere reflection of what I have learned and continue to learn.

Of course this isn’t the end of my yoga evolution, its just where I am now, building strong integrity in who I am and why I do what I do.  And as I step into parenthood, with my business, my students and my own baby growing inside, I am empowered in my intuition, the lessons I have learned and the power of my reality asking me to keep stretching my capacity to love beyond conditions, trust beyond the circumstances I try to control and appreciate as much of each breath and beat I get to enjoy.

And I hope that my own realizations, experiences and perspectives might offer you support and encouragement on your own journey.

May yoga offer you a place to express freely, to explore unashamedly and to reinvent boldly the life you wish to lead.  May you find gratitude for all the pains you suffered, forgiveness for all the blames you projected and acceptance for all the parts of you, bored and inspired, numb and desired, dishonest and enlightened.

May this practice allow you space to know who you truly are and what you have to say, so that you can share it with the world and make it a better place.

Kaitlin xox



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