Dear Homegrown Yogis,
I hate to sound like a downer but the month of April was pretty much a wreck for me – both figuratively and literally. I returned from Africa with a head cold that seemed to linger on for three weeks. I seriously struggled with getting back into the groove of teaching, being a mom and being constantly connected after spending several weeks off the grid. Tax day was April 15 – enough said on that one. I had personal conflicts, sleepless nights and all-around crankiness. And then, I totalled my brand new car by rear-ending someone on Watson. It was as if what was going on inside of me materialized to my outside world.
I had been sitting down to write this letter for the past week and didn’t write a word. I felt sad and uninspired and couldn’t come up with any sort of meaning for my month of misfortunes. Then, our Live Your Yoga Retreat happened this weekend. A part of me even wanted to skip out of it but fortunately I didn’t. It took me until the 29th of the month, but I now see what this month was about for me.
When our teaching team met to plan this retreat several months ago, we decided that we would base it around the Yamas and Niyamas. These are yoga’s ethical practices that provide us guidance on our life’s path. At that time, I had selected the principle of Tapas for my class – a term that literally means “heat” but is often interpreted as self-discipline, austerities, spiritual effort and transformation. When I sat down on Friday to prepare my weekend class, I opened Deborah Adele’s The Yamas and Niyamas and turned to the section on Tapas. And there it was:
“This guideline not only speaks to our personal effort, but also to those cathartic times of almost hopeless desperation when we find ourselves in the pain of unexpected loss or debilitating sickness, or in the throes of a life that seems like it has been turned upside down… And yet it is these times that shape and mold us into someone of depth. Our debris gets burned away and we are left more humbled and strengthened… It is these darkest times of pain, loss and confusion that weave something profound in us.”
April was a month of Tapas for me. And as Adele references in her book, we have two choices during these times. We can “break down” or we can “break open.” In the month of May, I choose the “break open” path – I choose to learn, to let go, to laugh and to live. Our retreat reminded me of the best way I can do that – by getting out of my own head and getting into the practice of yoga and the amazing community I have around me. I hope to see each of you on your mat this month!