Yoga is the place where I meet myself again and again. Today, I walked into the tiny little studio; a simple, single room shala with four white walls, open air, big windows on every single wall and dark wood floors. The middle of a tropical Miami summer, the smell of the salt air paired with my own internal heat creates the perfect container to drop into my body in way only this can.
I grabbed some props, a towel and sat down on my mat as I noticed the sound of ikaros playing (medicine music for Ayahuasca )I thought huh. This is going to be interesting. I took a very deep breath and sat on the floor.
The teacher said, “As you come to your mat today, ask yourself what is it that you want? It’s already here. Put one hand on your stomach and the other on your heart. Now ask yourself to see it in your future as the energy moves in and out of your body.”
I saw my partner, nature, water, our life, my writing, the work and the path I have been creating.
Then she said, “Notice where in your body are you stuck. What is it energetically, that you are hanging on. What are the spaces in your body that you can breath into and move that energy so it flows as will your life.”
As I moved through the poses I began to feel tears streaming down my face and the energy releasing in my hips and up to my throat. From standing poses, seated, laying down, I noticed flashing images from my journey with Ayahuasca. My bike, my mom’s boyfriend, trees, being outside, being alone, then chaos, then nature, my mom, my dad. Something that didn’t seem clear to me that day was what was happening to my body. I had traveled and left my body flailing on the floor. I don’t think I was in it all. Only when I woke up, I had to somehow had muster the energy to stick myself back in this strange body wasn’t the me that’s me anymore.
The voice kept saying, “You have to keep releasing the past. You have been invited to the party. It’s your choice to stay. It’s not for everyone. But you can’t bring anything or anyone with you.”
Sitting in a deep squat, in my hips and in child’s pose, I thought again about what I want. What I have created. Writing, home, the life I want.
Then teacher said,“You are ok. You are safe. You have arrived.”
As I felt her hand on my back, I saw my mother. I felt loved. I felt safe. I felt contained. The tears began to well up again as the energy moved through my body. The song Gravity came on and I thought of all the things that can pull you back. How it’s all ok, it’s just part of the dance.
I saw my father. I felt the disappointment he had in me. Right to left, sitting in either hip that corresponds to the mother and the father. And there it is; the pattern that had it’s hooks in me. I never want to disappoint anyone. Because in that moment, the moment I have let them down…the love, the safety, the container, the body, is ripped from me as violently as Aya had me flailing on the floor.
Then I heard my father’s voice. For the first time since his death.
He said,“I am your biggest fan. I want everything for you. The beauty, the love, the creativity– all that life has to offer.”
Somehow I knew he said this to me before, but I never heard him. Or maybe I didn’t believe him. I had heard this recently. My boss, and someone I consider a mentor, said those words to me just days ago.
He added, “It’s you. It’s your energy. Everything that you are makes me excited. I see things in you that you can’t see for yourself.”
I was so pumped to hear him say those things, but those words felt so foreign to me for some reason. What is it in me that can’t receive those words.
The very next day, he had sent me a message expressing disappointment. What is this dance we do? This flow, then comes the ebb. The lull–is it time to make sure we are really ready for what we have called in?
The heat was building in my body, the sweat, the tears, the water, the energy, the thoughts; it was all going round and round. The heat was getting to me today. This class felt never-ending; yet there was no time. Flowing from the hips to the floor, in warrior stance and back to the floor inward, child’s pose. I moved from this fragile, vulnerable, weightless state to the heavy power of my thighs, standing warrior, I dig my heels in.
The voice said, “Let go. Give in. Take your power back. Give it away. Push. Pull. Dark. Light. Surrender.”
Sitting in forward fold now, the last pose before the close, I hear the teacher say, “As you move into Shavasana. Think about what you want. You have it. You are creating it. You are your future.”
I laid back, stretched out my arms and legs; I released all the weight of this mental dance I had been in the last twenty-four hours; my heart felt open. I smiled and saw my mom smiling back at me. It’s summer, our favorite season and nineteen years ago, today, she went home.
I would like to think I have learned from my ancestors; that I listened to my mother and my father; that I carried what they had to give me into my life now. The truth is they will always have something to teach me. The lessons live on in everything I do and everyone I surround myself with. As does my breath. As does yoga. I wouldn’t have it any other way.