Mindfulness on the Mat

Today is my seventeenth yoga-teacher anniversary! On July fourth, 1999 I left my home in Connecticut and traveled to the Kripalu Institute in Lenox, Mass. to begin an intensive yoga teacher training that would ultimately provide me the skills and the tools to share yoga as an Integrative Yoga Therapist.

It's been an amazing journey which allowed me to bring yoga into a cancer center, to the hospital bedside and into a neurology practice. I developed a listening ear as a teacher in any class I found myself in and found it challenging to hold on to my own practice. I lost my ability to become immersed in my own yoga practice that was just for me. .  My teaching eventually became my practice and when I chose to become embedded in the Sandy Hook community as a trauma specialist, I stopped  practicing or teaching all together.  I think it's fair to say that I lost my yoga practice.

Despite teaching weekly for many, many many years I stopped attending my own classes. This was in part because my favorite teacher moved away and I was never able to fill that void in the same way. Life got busy and I told myself that I was evolving in my practice and my own home practice was enough. This excuse actually took me further away from the commitment to my yoga.

Now that my work has ended in sandy Hook and I have lots of free time., I faced my excuses, acknowledged  the void I've been feeling for quite a while and recommitted to my own practice this week. On Friday morning, I got up and did something a little scary. I went to a new yoga studio with a new yoga teacher surrounded by strangers.  This is the thing about yoga, no one remains strangers for very long. I was welcomed by the teacher and my fellow students warmly. 

The vibrations we share during class are so healing and such an important part of practice.  The class was wonderfully gentle and soothing to my soul. Reconnecting to my yoga  freed my mind and my body from stress, tension, and  worry and has brought me a sense of peace and centeredness that I have missed. The class is held in an old barn that dates back a couple of centuries and has such a wonderful energy to it. Laying flat on the mat in Savasana at the end of class I could hear the birds chirping outside the windows and I felt deep in my soul that I'd come home to myself once again.

I hope that you too can find some form of practice perhaps with yoga or something else that helps you to feel that sense of connection and mindfulness.

I've learned that we sometimes tell ourselves stories because they're convenient, because we want them to be true and because it's easy. Getting back on the mat was perhaps the easiest thing I've ever done but also one of the hardest because of the stories I'd told myself. I had to chose differently from what I had been willing or perhaps able to previously. Committing to our own well-being is the gift of a lifetime more valuable than rubies or diamonds.

Stay tuned as I share more stories from the mat.