Wednesday, February 11, 2015

GATHER / get on your mat

Somedays we need that subtle reminder to just get onto our mats.

We need access to that quiet voice inside to tell that louder, more persistent, ego that we are not our thoughts and our deficiencies. That quiet voice gives us access to our light; our bright, bubbly, shiny selves.

I had the sincere pleasure to attend Elena Brower's workshop at Yoga at the Raven in Silverlake a few weeks ago. This space....let me tell you....feel spiritual in its very foundation. A quiet, unassuming sanctuary, with feelings of home oozing out of its every nook and cranny. I walked out of the rain, yes, it was a rare misty Los Angeles evening, and into this unfamiliar space that immediately felt like a deep and easy breath. Upon entering, burning sage met my nose and all the anxiety and fear that had seeped into my day began to dissipate.

I gently laid down my mat front and center. It's my least favorite place to be, but I know when I am here, I have immediate connection and presence with my soulful teachers. This is the best place to learn from and be inspired by. Elena passed out cards from her beautifully crafted Art of Attention deck and I immediately felt at ease. My card, RECEIVE, seemed to know exactly what I needed, in that moment and generally in my life. RECEIVE.

At the front of my mat I had built an alter: my beautiful Tiny Devotions mala beads urging me to be abundant, my card asking me to receive, and Elena's warm and soft face smiling back at me. This is becoming a really beautiful part of practice, this creation of  ritual on my mat that helps me to land and arrive in any space. I felt truly tapped in to that elusive self-care; I felt deeply connected to my body, my spirit and my mind. Each pose offered up a new place to expand into and release fully. I gave myself permission to move with care.

Our flow was gentle and meditative at first and grew into a challenging and counter-intuitive practice. Elena asked us to think outside the boundaries we place on our practice. She asked if we could move through our practice with a heightened awareness; to notice were we could play with each pose in a new way; to challenge ourselves to come at each pose from a different angle: that unfamiliar side that we neglect to use or care for. Each pose felt different; somehow familiar and foreign at the same time. It was a simple as taking a cross-legged seat and switching the familiar cross of your legs. This simple ask, to construct new ways for our brain to think, allows us to create a whole new pathway to learning and self-exploration.

Elena spoke at the beginning of class, as each of us where inverted in our first downward facing dog; she said her teacher, Darren Rhodes, says that our SATTVA is our SEVA - our PRACTICE is our SERVICE. That landed with me, in a big way. That means that getting on our mats is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves, our families, and our world. It is a gift we give over and over again. Sometimes we just need that gentle reminder to go there.

Find your mat and sink into your practice.


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