Chapter 7 - Celebrating 20 years of sharing my love of yoga with you
It's seems almost impossible to pick up from the intensity of my previous chapter without first thanking the many of you who have reached out in some way to me. This is the amazing Selah community that I am so blessed to be a part of. We do share glimpses of ourselves along the way and these chapters are giving you that into the person beyond the yoga teacher that you know.
So life did go on, we were all doing OK after the tragedy of 2012, not without falters, not without reminders of painful memories, anniversaries and numerous other challenging events BUT we as a family were OK. We consciously worked to create amazing memories and add even more fun and laughter to the beautiful farm life that we loved so much. Friends, family, fires, parties, a constant stream of dosing ourselves with love, love and more love.
My yoga practice took on a new life as well. For a long time it was hard to feel safe again in the quiet of meditation, to be still and let myself be open to my own thoughts as they would often drag me down a rabbit hole, but I persisted, I kept showing up. I took it slowly, building myself up to more and more minutes and connecting to the energy around me which to be honest sometimes felt like an avalanche and others like floating heavenly in the sea, but I persisted, I kept showing up. I needed to feel safe again in the space that had once been my personal refuge - I needed to let go of what I couldn't control and really live the #peacestartswithme mantra that I hold so closely to in our yoga classes. The crazy thing about sitting in the silence is that it's completely different every time as you may have experienced yourself, so you just persist, you keep showing up. You can never be guaranteed of where your mind might take you, if it will be happy to rest, or wander and dream aimlessly, rest, wander, dream, rest, wander, dream - and that's just what meditation is, so you persist, you keep showing up. This is the nature of mindfulness to allow ourselves the time to just rest (sometimes with the discomfort), in the quiet, but when we are conscious of the wandering, we return to the stillness or whatever has become the chosen focus at that time, we persist, we keep showing up.
One of my favourite places was on our front verandah overlooking the water and beyond into the safety of the hills that held me and simply absorb myself in all of natures activities. Naming all the sounds, acknowledging the thoughts and the daydreams and just being happy to sit with that. This technique seemed to keep my mind very much "in the moment" and while there are a million techniques, the important thing has always been to find the one that works for that time and the more tools you have in your kitbag the easier it is to find the one that works.
It was during this that I deeply experienced the essence of yoga teachings to not just be aligned with the asana (physical - simply a tool to support us to get to a place of open-ness), but to connect beyond to "my space within", the place that taught me to trust my own wisdom and my own strength and abilities to be even more open to the universe and it's plan for me, even the painful parts. My body and nervous system was recovering from a phase of utter exhaustion so this inner space had become my place of peace despite the challenges my subconscious would often throw at me.
A yoga retreat was to be part of the plan......... and it couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Thank you Universe!
In 2014 I had the opportunity to go to Bali with one of my own yoga teachers to spend a week in the mountains and surrounds of the artistic-haven that is Ubud. I had visited the coastal "touristy", party-side of Bali back in my early 20's, had a ball but it didn't leave me really wanting to go back such was the shallow existence of that holiday. But when this chance came along I felt instantly drawn to it. I loved the teacher so I knew the yoga would be perfect and beyond that the whole experience would be equally fabulous. So my gorgeous friend Megs didn't hesitate to join me and we were off. We had an amazing time away and fell in love with the people of Bali. The pure sincerity of their gratefulness in spite of what they don't have, their humility, faith, family and community. So many lessons for us there that underpin so many of the teachings of our yoga practice. We got to be part of an incredible religious ceremony, cook with local families, bathe under waterfalls and spend time with wonderful Balinese people. It really was a very special time, and another step along my healing path.
It was from this trip that I could see a new path being set out before me in my life as a yoga teacher. Yoga retreats were to become a new exciting focus, so when I started to ask students who might be interested I was overwhelmed with women excited to have the opportunity to combine their love of their yoga classes with some adventures.
And I knew exactly where to begin ........