Here we are…it’s 2022 and my life is in flux. I know I am not alone in the experience of the last 2 years. Two years ago, I was
–in a stable job of 14 years
–enjoying teaching Yoga- especially teacher training as well as respectful relationships with other teachers and the income for extra training and really cute yoga pants
–not dreading the next Covid ‘wave’
–looking forward to a potential change in politics void of divisive, sickening rhetoric
I had no idea that I would be changed so dramatically by the pandemic. I lost my job. My grown kids moved in. Most importantly, I lost my passion for Yoga- both the practice and the teaching of the form. While all the other changes were tolerable, the loss of Yoga in my life has been devastating. I foolishly thought that my time as a Yoga teacher had arrived- I could finally try teaching full-time.
Obviously, the timing could not have been worse. Even if students were willing or able to show up, I began to realize that attaching a financial pressure to my teaching was a huge mistake. After the closure of my favorite place to practice and teach (as well as a falling out with my mentor), I slowly began to lose my personal practice. My teaching began to be filled with fear and dread- I now needed a certain number of students to show up in order for me to pay for gas and expenses. My joy slowly evaporated like a balloon with a pin hole leaking out all the air leaving me empty and deeply sad.
With this loss, I began to become aware that I was also losing all the benefits of my regular practice. My digestive issues and aches and pains returned. My depression began creeping back in. My forgotten bad habits began to show up and I couldn’t say ‘no’ to the things I had learned to live without (unhealthy eating, poor sleep and a renewed inability to regulate my emotions and reactions). Road rage made a comeback- something I was SO proud I ‘overcame’. Nope.
Of course, I gained a bit of weight but this isn’t really the greatest tragedy. The mental health benefits from Yoga began to fade and were replaced with all the old skeletons of depression, anxiety and loss of purpose. Those skeletons leapt out of the closet and back into the forefront of my life. I cringed as I reflected on how arrogant I had become. I began to re-learn everything I thought I knew. I looked around at the ‘devastation’ and knew I had to start again. You see, I remembered that Yoga is a practice. We will not reach a destination and we will never complete all tasks or reach all the landmarks. Without the practice, Yoga is not present and a vacuum is created which sucks in all the debris and bullshit we thought we had banished. Again, nope. Those things do not leave us, they just hide in the dark corner waiting to leap out again. This dark night of the soul, dark side of our personality, and darkness in general is an integral aspect of our life. The darkness is a great teacher.
Yesterday, after teaching my first Yoga class in months, I had an epiphany:
I WAS DOING IT ALL WRONG.
In Yoga (specifically Ayurveda, the sister science to Yoga), we have three Doshas: Pitta, Vata and Kapha. We learn to live in harmony with our Dosha (our constitution which is a mixture of our physical type, our personality and the ‘elements’ that propel us: fire, air, water, space and earth). We learn the type of Yoga that is best for balance and avoidance of injury. We learn the foods and daily rhythms that bring us into harmony. This is different for each Dosha and varies from person to person.
Well, I was disregarding some very important aspects of my Dosha (Pitta/Fire and Water) which meant that when I lost my practice, I lost my balance. However, during my epiphany, I realized the loss was a gift. I needed to be knocked down to re-evaluate how I was fooling myself and that my practice and my teaching were driven by my Ego. When the Ego is in charge, any perceived balance or harmony is an illusion – for when things start to go against the Ego, the house collapses. I lost all the trappings that held up my house and it fell down.
On the day of my small breakthrough, I meditated in class with my students as we practiced the Vishuddha Mudra. Tears began to flow down my cheeks. In my head, I heard ‘Peace is Here’ over and over. I knew I rediscovered my practice. Today, I was inspired to write a blog after over two years of silence.
Life is good with Yoga.