Open Letter to a Yoga Teacher

Yoga to the People Standing Bow

Dear Katherine-

When I realized that you were teaching class today I got nervous first and choked up, second. Your standing bow pose looks at me every time I walk into the locker room. But taking class with the person on the poster wasn’t the reason for the lump.

It’s funny, the day before another amazing teacher asked if we adjust our expectations based on who is teaching, when instead we should look internally when it comes to our practice.

Several months have passed since I took a class with you. Since then, life has changed exponentially.

I’ve started teaching yoga.

Your classes played a big part in that decision.

A year and a half ago I walked into your 6:30 pm class. I had never been so far away from myself- emotionally or physically. That class ripped me apart. 90 minutes in the heat.

Your voice was firm, focused and freeing.

Work hard but rest when you need to.

Find limits and grow but be intelligent about choices you make.

You can be comfortable or change, but you can’t have both. 

I know it’s yoga but it is also life. I didn’t know back then that I’d end up teaching- but that night was the flicker.  It was a spark that had to light from a puddle of sweat and tears.

Class was so f*cking hard. But I’d never been more grateful.

That night, I picked up my towel and soul off the mat.

I’d wash the towel. My soul was another story. It was shaky. And tired. You are never more lost until you are found.

At home, I crumbled. Cried until my eyes were puffy. No more hiding. No more running. It was time to start my life over, again.

I’m sure you’ve heard this a thousand times. Trying to articulate this after class would have resulted in me crying- not because I was embarrassed but until being confronted with seeing you- I didn’t actually realize how much I have changed. Or changed back to who I was before the fall.

In this day and age of the over share- the whys, whats and wheres aren’t important, but thanking people is a lost art.

So thank you, Katherine.

Your class makes me tap into something deeper and lighter. I have become my own best teacher.

Namaste.

Tantric TV Yoga

orange-is-the-new-black-interview-600x369

I used to do a lot of binge watching.

Just shove a whole season down my throat because somehow it tasted better.

But lately, my television experience is a lot more tantric.

Like many, many other people I been watching Orange is the New Black.

A joy lies inside the waiting to watch the next episode. Netflix makes it hard because they release the whole season at once, however, I have shown a shockingly huge amount of discipline.

Yeah I know, it’s a prison show full of stereotypes- but the writing isn’t all bad.

We can spend time judging my tastes later, more interesting things await.

So since I’m really taking my time with every episode every word sinks in.

Jengi Kohan, the creator must know that I love a good turn of phrase and quippy dialogue that feels real.

It’s. Absolutely Satisfying.

(And Natasha Lyonne is fcuking awesome, but again I digress)

Episode 10 deals with bad teens and the Scared Straight program. In one scene the main character talks to a young banger girl in a wheelchair.

It starts at minute 2:44 but the whole five minutes is great. (the language is rough, so the kids need to walk away)

“It’s coming face-to-face with who you really are.” 

I know I’ve mentioned that yoga is my therapy, my church, my medicine and my safe place.

But really, it just brought me face-to-face with myself.

It happens every time I practice, but I feel myself most when I’m in the hot room.

I don’t know what it is about the heat or the ritual I have about setting up my mat, but if I’m running from something I can be sure that it’s going to be waiting for me when I sit my ass down and fold my legs to open my hips. Baddha Konasana will never be the same.

One of these moments happened today.

I got to class. I changed. I chatted. I kept looking at the entrance to the hot room sideways, like it was about to come for me. (And I hadn’t even watched Episode 10 yet! )

I stopped bullshitting and went to face the heat.

Feelings started to well up and I felt my eyes leak (I’m so happy the room is dark).

But I realized that I wasn’t upset about anything.

I. Was. Okay.

The past 12 months were more stressful than I can describe, and I didn’t talk about it as much as I should have to my family and friends.

Now, on the other side I realized that it was my mat and practice that had been my confidantes.

The hot room is where I came when it felt confusing, dark and on some days without any hope.

And now that the storm is over, I can exhale. It sounds stupid but I wanted to cry did cry and thanked the room for being there.

You can run but you can’t hide in 105°.

Staying in the moment helped me stay in the moment off the mat.

Being present can get you through a world of stress.

These next 12 months may prove to be the most challenging of my life.

But with a mat, a hot room, myself and the truth, I’ll be better than okay.

It isn’t prison, but hot yoga made me her bitch. And her truth has set me free.

Namaste y’all. 

half bind hot-yoga

Evolution Revolution aka Birthday Yoga

Evolving

I’m a May baby.

It’s hard not to get reflective around your birthday. On Friday I was walking to class listening to Badu’s Window Seat. This doesn’t make the day unique, I listen to this song a ton, but the weather was finally May warm. Everyone seemed to be rockin’ a lil bit of swag in their steps. It’s awesome when people around you unknowingly are cast in your real life music video.

I love everything about Erykah Badu. She seems to live her life eloquently out loud.

A smile crept on my face…Can I get a window seat, nobody next to me…

I resisted the urge to strip as I walked down Newark Avenue. I was feeling pretty  absolutely great.

I’ve read about women truly becoming who they are when they turn 40, but I was in my 30’s so of course I thought it was utter bullshit.

What we don’t plan for when we are young is our constant evolution as people. I’ve changed so much over the years, each year coming closer to what I believe is my most authentic self.

As birthday 42  up, I realize that I couldn’t be more complete. It’s quite a revelation because for so many years I was always searching.

Searching for the perfect job, partner, weight, look, hair etc…

But as I walked in that warm sunshine, I was exactly where I wanted to be literally and metaphorically.

Ooh-ra.

At first glance it might seem like it’s because of my yoga practice.

To say I’ve met some incredible people because of my yoga journey is an understatement. Yoga people are my people, it’s all good in the hood ( as the kids used to say).

But that’s not the source of my peace.

You might think it’s my physical practice. I’m strong again. I love it. There is a joy my body feels because I practice a few hours each day.

But that’s not the source of the peace either.

As my 108 days of yoga comes to a close I realize that yoga brought me close to me. No matter if you are single or married with 10 kids loving others begins with loving yourself.

My love for self goes beyond the regular self-love that I discovered in my 30’s.

It’s the kind of love that comes with unapologetic acceptance of every inch of your body and soul. I love the good in me. I love the stuff that makes me icky.

And living yoga helps me move closer to a place where it’s all okay.

This is yoga and it’s always evolving, just like me.

Namaste y’all.

942431_10200927113566791_252478950_n