This week has felt DEEP. STRONG. And incredibly DEVOTED.
For a long time I've struggled with closing the gap between the strength and connection I feel inside my soul, and that that I feel in my body. Yes, I have come a hell of a long way in the last few years and can say I have worked insanely hard to ignite the level of respect and admiration I now have for this body that I live in. But it has been a very slow, uphill effort through some rough terrain of resistance and self imposed limitations. Acknowledging this, I gave myself permission this week to spend less time online talking about self love, and instead spending time going deeper into my body to explore a part of my own self love, that has been yelling out to me for a while now.
This essentially unfolded into a week of practising yoga at least twice a day. Incorporating more hot yoga into my week. Going deeper on both a physical level and spiritual level, than I ever have before. All in the name of cracking open old fears and doubts, and pondering guilt, devotion and fear, all whilst in the space of a heavy forward fold.
To say the least, it's been... Incredibly awakening.
You see I have been practising yoga for years, here and there as I felt drawn to it, and usually when I was in need of a helping hand. Something to ground me. Something to bring me back to the present. Or something to remind me of that mind, body, soul connection. And by all means, I still see yoga as an amazing tool for all of these things. But this week was different. I was no longer reaching for the mat to cope with my external world. But instead, found myself craving my time on the mat in order to catch another glimpse of the untouched, deep seafloor of my inner world. And it is for this very reason, that this self-proclaimed growth junkie has fallen in love with hot yoga. More so, I've fallen in love with what it does to me.
With every bead of sweat that drips off my body, I feel another flower bud inside me blossom, expand and awaken. After every hot yoga class, I walk out in a state of relief, peace and rawness. I feel buoyant. I am in awe. I feel at ease. I feel like I have once again come to understand what it is I am here to feel, to see, to be. I feel like I have discovered a new part of me that I never knew existed. And what was once a tool to settle my racing mind and remind me of all that I know to be true, this week turned into my vehicle for flicking my explorer identity on and uncovering new insights, ideas and teachings that have been buried inside me for years.
Sounds pretty blissful, right? It all still feels rather new and exciting in my body, which actually feels so ridiculous to say, because I'm doing the same yoga I've done for so long. Except, this week it all felt just so different. Like the addition of infrared heating and the subsequent release of physical toxins, has left me with such vast spaciousness in each of my cells ready to now be inhabited by new revelations that could never quite make it to the surface. And by consciously devoting large amounts of valuable, precious time to my body over everything else has finally given my wiser self the permission it needed to show me what I've been resisting all along.
There's that word again. Resistance. Some days I feel like it plagues my existence, and then others I feel like I could crush it in my hands. And as usual, when we resist something in our life, it persists. It keeps showing up like a guy who just wont take a hint. Until we decide to open our eyes and see it for what it really is; an invitation. An invitation to the very thing that we need to pursue in our life, in order to grow and expand. A big flashing green light trying to get our attention and guide us down the right path. And that is definitely what this yoga journey has felt like for me. A playful game of resistance with plenty of green flashing lights, but a hefty dose of fear and limitations associated with it. Fears that trace back all the way to my teen years, that I really didn't pay all that much attention to until this week.
Let me explain... As a teenager, I was an overweight, yet blissfully happy dancer, in the throws of my favourite routine. Exhilirated and beaming with life, yet burnt and scarred on the inside by a belligerent ego. I spent most of my childhood and teen years dancing until I was 17, and it was my world. I was good at it, I adored it and it allowed me to experience a sense of freedom and confidence that back then I had never experienced. Dancing was my thing, and I wore that identity with such pride and confidence. Yet beneath the confident exterior, was a girl that felt incredibly ashamed, lost and angry.
Having always been overweight, I always resented being the fat one in a sea of lean, beautiful dancers. I always felt out of place. I carried with me a sense of dis-ease, and a bitter hatred for the body I had been given to take me through this life. I had no understanding back then of what it meant to feel nourished, and I used my self-hatred to establish some pretty clear and bold limiting beliefs. Ones that completely shattered any links between what my mind thought I could do, and what my body actually could do. Ones that declared loud and proud: I will never be a professional dancer. I will never find peace in the way I move my body. I will never be flexible, nor anywhere near "fit". I will never be toned. I have a terrible body. And my body will never be my friend. Period.
And you can be sure that my ego made damn sure I was reminded of these beliefs on a daily basis growing up. My ego was clearly in charge back then, and at the young age of 17, I let it all go. I quit dancing and moved on with my life, with the intention of forgetting about the body and focusing on the brains. I let my limiting beliefs call the shots and I let go of something I was good at and something I loved more than anything, because I simply believed I wasn't worthy of it.
Coming back to the present, I was reminded of these distant beliefs as I sat there on my mat the other day, sweating profusely and deep in my yoga high. As I was reflecting on how amazing the week had felt and how happy I was that I had chosen to dedicate this time away from the 'brain' work and into the 'body' work, a faint sprinkle of unworthiness as pungent and putrid as I had felt all those years ago, began to enter my heart space. In the very same second that I had realised how much I was actually loving my body and this new adoration and devotion for my strong, balanced practice - the visuals of me dancing amongst my lean, flexible friends and feeling out of place, came dancing through my mind in an effort to remind myself of those previous limitations I had once taken a vow to obey. This trickle of self sabotage was trying to worm its way back into my life, telling me to keep this yoga business at arms length. That I had missed my chance way back when, and I really should now be focusing on my business and work and anything and everything that didn't relate to my body, because that was the 'safe' place where I wouldn't get hurt.
Seriously?! Yoga and movement = emotionally unsafe ?!?
As I was ever so gently reminded of this feeling as I sat there on the mat, I couldn't help but smile and have a little laugh to myself. Wow! Are you serious?! THAT is why I have been unconsciously resisting devoting to yoga for so long? THAT is why for so long I used to put anything and everything else in my life before physical movement or yoga - because my dancing years had scarred me and made me believe that anything else was considered a 'safer' emotional option?!
I was totally slapped in the face with a wave of both relief, shock and dumbfoundedness. So relieved and amused at the stupidity and littleness of the limitation standing in my way, yet quite baffled that it had taken me so long to break it down and see it this clearly. I had always known that my then feelings of inadequacy and dis-belonging had shaped my confidence growing up, but to now know and understand the severity of their impact on something as human and necessary as movement and exercise, was such an eye opener and a groundbreaking revelation to me. With this newfound realisation, my passion for body love immediately went through the roof. What I already saw as a healthy relationship between myself and my body, suddenly became one even more potent with respect and admiration. And any shadow of a doubt that I'd ever had about this body of mine rocking her mat with grace and ease, was blown out of the water.
And so with that, this next ‘phase’ of devotion to not only my practice but to movement in general, really excites me! I have no idea what it will hold. The emotional burden that I didn't realise resided on that part of my life has been lifted, and my mind is racing with curiosity as I find freedom in the fact that this body of mine has oh so many options.
This feeling of devotion is instigating constant expanding, awakening and surging of life through my body, and it is making me incredibly happy. And ultimately, that is always the end goal. To feel happy. To feel good. And to feel alive in our human existence. So I'm going to roll with it, and simply watch it unfold. Continue to shower my body with love, embrace all its imperfections, and allow the way I move my body to forever help me in my efforts to embrace adventure, explore new territory and smash down limitations. I feel like the sky is the limit here, and I can finally pull back the covers that have been hiding the strong, able and spirited body that I love. Who knows where this will take me?!
So in closing, I encourage you to strip back a few of your own layers this weekend with a strong sense of devotion. Pin point your areas of resistance and pour devotion all over them in an effort to be shocked and amazed at what has been standing in your way. I'd love to hear from you below if you can relate to my story or have your own journey of devotion ahead. And as always, if you loved this post, feel free to share the love!
Big hugs and downward dogs,