Trust the ground beneath you. Honor your right to stand on it.
I ended with these words as a reflection of a short 5-pose sequence that I taught today, the first day of my 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training at the Carrboro Yoga Company, near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Yep, we were up teaching on Day 1!
Yoga has given me my power back to walk on this earth with strong and sturdy legs after time spent struggling with arthritis and my aging body. Sure, I still lose my balance. I’m just ten months post-op from my second total knee replacement. But sometimes falling out of a pose is exactly how I better understand my body’s new alignment. Falling out of a pose gives me the opportunity to make an adjustment or modification and then try again. Through yoga I have rediscovered resilience, bravery and grace and an “is that all you got-like” attitude in responding to any life imbalances and unexpectencies that I cross paths with.
By design, life isn’t supposed to be amazing all of the time. Or even 70% of the time. Discomfort is the currency to your dream life. The more uncomfortable you are willing to be, the closer your life will align to what you want. You may have heard me say this before. Please listen if you’ve forgotten. WE ARE ALWAYS EXACTLY WHERE WE NEED TO BE STANDING. WE ARE ALWAYS GIVEN EXACTLY WHAT WE ARE IN NEED OF. Perhaps today, I felt absolutely certain of these two things, more so than at any other time in my life.
As I prompted my “students”/classmates, to begin by standing at the top of their mat in Mountain pose, I tried to teach the sequence by instruction rather than by demonstration - one key element that stood out from today’s training with my most authentic teachers. They are - Yoga For Athletes extraordinaire Sage Rountree and Leis Sapp, co-owners of The Carolina Yoga Company and it’s three studios, and their studio manager at the Carrboro facility where we are training, Jenni Tarma, who opened this three-week intensive leading an hour long class that, as I made sure to tell her afterwards, was the most intentionally instructed class I’ve ever taken - and I feel that way even though we spent a great deal of time on our knees! Props to my #SukahMat
Today’s 6-hour day left zero doubt that I am exactly where I need to be at exactly the right time. The decision to travel solo almost 9 hours from Pennsylvania to North Carolina to spend nearly one month learning from this gifted group of teachers and students has been a monumental life division. The decision to go ALL IN - my mantra in selecting Sage’s program as the best fit for me - came full circle this afternoon when Sage noted my ALL IN decision after I stated my intention to the group for deciding to work for my yoga teacher certification and to do so in this magical space.
After spending part of this past winter and spring taking Sage’s Monday night Yoga For Athletic Balance class via her live web-stream from my home in Pennsylvania, today I was welcomed into the Paper Lantern Room, where that class took place. My feet walked the beautifully worn wooden plank floors of this former mill building and I participated in an opening ceremony fire-ritual - a way to release something that no longer serves our greater purpose in order to make space for what’s to come. Something I was most excited for was occupying this space that I have grown to adore through my iPad and oversized TV. The first experience I was given in it allowed me to feel more connected to myself than I can ever recall feeling.
Into the fire in the center of the room, I released ExPecTatiOns. When Sage brought the fire to me, I took a few inhales, and motioned with my hands more JoY into the space now available for it. A weight lifted. A feeling of softness and certainty eased it’s way in.
A great life is determined by the amazing goals you commit to, not necessarily achieve. Let go of all expectations. Trust the ground beneath you. Honor your place to stand on it. Fill yourself with Joy, and then anything else you have time and space for.