March 2018

Dear Homegrown Yogis,

For the last few weeks, I have noticed myself being overly reactive.  Something that I would typically deal with calmly – a last minute change in plans or unexpected traffic – has suddenly turned me into a frazzled mess.  On top of that, I have been having crazy dreams about the studio –  in some, I forget to be at the studio to teach.  In other nightmares, we run out of cold towels! =)  

I hadn’t given it much thought until I checked my calendar this morning and realized it is the first day of March.  March has been a month that I have been talking excitedly about for the last 6 months, but it has felt far away until recently.  This month marks the start of our 2018 yoga teacher training class and my trip to Kenya with the Africa Yoga Project.  It is the first time that I will ever be away from Freida or from the studio for longer than a week. And between me and all of you, I am afraid.

Before doing the self-excavation work of yoga, I would oftentimes use the words “stressed,” “anxious” and “overwhelmed” to describe how I’m feeling right now.  What I’ve discovered about myself, though, is that these words just skim over what I’m really feeling.  To me, they are tougher and more acceptable words than “afraid.”  Just try saying out loud, “I am stressed” and then saying, “I am afraid.”  Feels different, right?  

To be even more specific, I am afraid of not having control over what happens at the studio and with Freida while I am gone.  Deep down, I know that I don’t really have control over anything at any time. One of my favorite Zen expressions is “Relax.  Nothing is under control.”  But physically being at the studio and at home, and having constant access to my computer and to Freida, gives me a sense of control that I fear giving up.  

Yet I’ve also discovered through yoga that giving up control is the path to personal breakthroughs. Whether it’s giving up control by relaxing in half pigeon or letting go of my agenda and embracing what’s happening, it is in these moments of surrender that growth occurs for me.  The term in Sanskrit is Ishvara Pranidhana – the jewel of surrender.  It asks us to let go of control, release our rigidity, and engage with life as it is.

Surrender is the work that I take on this month.  On March 23rd, I am leaving the studio and my little girl in the best care for 2.5 weeks.  I am letting it all go, trusting, and letting life live me.  And if anything goes wrong while I’m gone, please just don’t let me know about it.  I’m trying to let go here =)  

With love,

Rachel


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