I have been thinking a lot about how my yoga practice has changed so much over the years as I reclaim more of an intuitive and intimate relationship to my body, mind and soul. I realize that this is in no way separate from how much I show my self unconditional love and compassion. Looking back, I see that yoga was the gateway into an empowered sense to truly listening to my body and challenging my comfort zones to become a more adaptable, less judgemental and more considerate human being.
And of course in the law of the ego I also have struggled with the limitations that are sometimes placed on what yoga looks like. I felt lesser than, and as a result was discouraged to express authentically. I felt stifled by what I thought I had to produce in order to be valued, restricted to a rectangular box. I felt unsupported to be curious in the traditional paradigms in which yoga was being offered. The view point that there is one approach that is the best, to fit my body into these molds and follow the excessively manipulative and redundant instructions without much thought into how I actually felt, fed my ego’s need to please the teacher, to improve my performance and dwell on the results as well as strengthen my fear of failure, shame me into falling in line and fitting in.
Don’t get me wrong, Yoga inspired essential values I am still dedicated to cherish along with more mindfulness and a deeper connection to my self. And because of the wonderful deepening of my practice, I started to question how some aspects of this practice were not serving me or my growth. The yoga woke me up to how some of the franchised aspects of sequences and the over rationalized value of certain biomechanics or teaching methodologies were becoming a place I felt no longer inspired to learn, expand and evolve. The yoga I was experiencing out there was no longer in harmony with the yoga that was developing within me and I could no longer resonate with a practice being taught in such rigid, linear and narrow perspectives of what it means to truly embody our wholeness.
I am so grateful to the building blocks that set sequences and linear practices allowed me to flourish within, including my breath, a relationship to my thoughts and an overall feeling that I was much more than what was happening to me. And I still feel like that version of this practice is beneficial, and such a great place to give beginners or those experiencing extreme volatility in their personal lives to anchor into something very grounded and rooted into more introspective states of being. I believe that all variations of yoga offerings give us an opportunity to understand ourselves better and that will be different for each of us at different phases of our life.
And what this revealed was why we moved in the first place… because we were curious and longing to express our hearts desires to understand the world better. It unveiled how hard I cling to certain ways of seeing the world and the limited perspectives that edged out the infinite possibilities available to me in any given moment when I am fully open to what is. I felt to the core of my being, the inter connection between nature and the “Gods” of many teachings, the thread of which was all marinated boundless love, celebrated in both a deep sense of individuality and a vast awareness of humility from our insignificance.
I started to move more in rhythm with the seasons changing outside as well as my internal seasons that came with my monthly cycle and how I felt on that given day. I saw the various times where I needed that rooted familiar practice of poses and cues that settled me in times of personal chaos. And yet I witnessed that need becoming less as I learned to strengthen my ability to adapt, to meet the unexpected and to work with the present moment with equal parts dedication to my heart and surrender to what is. I noticed I became more liberated the more I opened up to what I was confronted in, and became more aware of my reactions, my habits and my set ways of seeing things through a narrow version of who I thought I had to be in order to be loved. I started loving myself more fiercely first and then felt how my yoga practice shape shifted on the mat to be a more sincere honouring of what I didn’t want to feel, and equally a safe place for me to feel into it any way. I had to stir my own pot, remain compassionate to my own wounds and most importantly step towards the unknown with a willingness to learn something new about myself. I found that over time, I could no longer just follow the instructions laid out for me, I wholeheartedly desired to unleash my own truth. So I began to move more fluidly into the waters of my body, more curiously from the nature of why I am here to grow and more playfully from the joy that this life is offering me when I chose it. I saw my own day to day experience become more of what I had dreamed of and less of what I was told I should be doing.
And so Body Intelligence Yoga was born. Which is so hard to actually give a definition because its a practice of learning to listen to your own body’s innate wisdom and your own unique heart’s longing and allowing it to become a sanctuary of self meeting the emprisoned ideals of the ego. Its at this juncture where we can find balance, not a balance externalized by what it looks like from what others think, but a balance that is constantly dancing with how we feel on the inside, what lights us up and what allows us to keep expanding our hearts reach.
When I started to explore beyond those set expectations of what yoga is, I was met with a lot of resistance, judgement and projected fears of others. I was so excited with all that yoga was teaching me, that I wanted to push the boundaries of what I thought yoga was by exploring other traditions, perspectives and viewpoints of movement, breath, mindfulness, and philosophy of the soul. Sometimes, I felt I didn’t have a community to really feel safe in this new investigation into my self and what else was out there. That is why I started this online platform. And even since I started so much has changed. I watch the first videos we filmed and I cringe at how much I was still trying to fit in, but I also smile at the brave women who truly was on a mission (and still is) to keep breaking the rules we have so falsely made on how to move, and rebelling against a system that tries to wash out our uniqueness or pander to our fears. I am committed to my continued growth and so I guess I have to be ok with the uncomfortable side effects of putting my whole self (dark shadow parts and all) out there and continuing to be ok with the diverse reactions and responses I am met with. But I hope here, in this little pocket of the inter web, we can co-create a space that allows us to flourish in each our own musings and poke the triggers of our own bears of fear so that we can keep overcoming who we thought we were to be truly the most heart felt declaration of who we have always been.
I am so immensely grateful to the first Bikram yoga class I took, a mirror at the time of how much I punished myself for what I hadn’t yet achieved, and the journey through various models and perspectives that have allowed me to truly find myself, and honour my own style I share today. So as I continue to practice in
balance with my own pregnant body’s needs and might I add, very demanding needs, I am able to flow with this awkward bellied and loose jointed state, rather than enforce or impose a practice that isn’t honouring the truth of what is unfolding for me right now. And it will change again. And I will meet that change unashamed because yoga has liberated me to to express the wild of my nature, the intriguing relationship of my self meeting this world’s unpredictable one legged pistol squat to a standing splits to being upside down in handstand and falling out over and over again until I realize that there is no yoga without the struggle to learn from and there is no love without the fear of not knowing what’s next.
So let me leave with you this, start taking out time, even if its just 10 minutes, to sit with yourself at home alone, to allow your body to signal what it needs and move there curiously and inquire about the narratives and stories that live as tension and fear in your body. And allow this practice to be both exactly what you need in that moment and specifically what will reveal your most vulnerable viewpoint so that you can truly be free to move from the longing of your unique heart in this moment, not from the shameful beliefs of what happened to you or how you think you should be.
Have fun, don’t run from whats uncomfortable, breathe in and shake it out. This is your yoga to reimagine. Your life to lead. Start now. How do you feel versus how do you want to feel. What is the resistance between you and the embodiment of the love that you always are. Yoke the duality, yearn for your own expression and burn off all the negative opinions, unkind comparisons and resentful judgements that no longer allow you to offer others the same. Set yourself free in your own rhythm of breath moving towards what ignites your curious nature to keep realizing you are so much more capable than you let yourself believe.
I will see you on the mat!