Flying solo isn't something I default to. I am a closeted introvert, pretending to be an extravert. You know those people. This past weekend I gave myself the gift of a weekend in San Francisco alone to attend a two-day yoga workshop. It was a short weekend to wander around and spend some time getting back to the roots of me. I expected to feel a little more revived, I expected to be more tired upon my return, I expected it would take me a moment to get my footing, to find some solace in the time without anyone else around. But it was any of those things, I took to this weekend like a fish to water; sliding effortlessly into its deep cool waters without any ties to time, responsibility, roles, or deadlines. I just woke up Saturday morning, made my way onto the street with only my backpack strapped to my shoulders and I just started walking. I walked and walked and walked and walked some more. I stopped when something caught my attention, I meandered around the streets that felt busy and then made my way up and around to streets that seemed to stand still. I climbed over hills just to see the view, I walked to the middle of the Golden Gate bridge because when you are standing right under it, why would you not want to walk to it's center?
I filled my minutes, hours, and days with things that felt delightful. I full engaged with my food, my body, my desire, my preferences, my wishes, my wants, and my needs. This almost never happens in my real life, I rarely take the time to pause, ask myself what would truly feed my soul, and then listen to that call. Oh dearest ones, please please please do listen to that call.
This weekend felt like the biggest breath of air I've been able to take in so long, longer than I can remember or care to admit. The intention of this sacred trip was to study with one of my yoga mentors, Elena Brower. She is a mentor to many of us, but she has quietly been such a force in my life and my practice these past few years, and she doesn't even know it. I have come to soak in her teachings all over Los Angeles, and on the interwebs. She has informed my teaching, my practice, and my daily routine in such profound and life altering ways. I am so very honored to be her student. We need these teachers, mentors, friends, to guide us into the unknown; into territory we have yet to walk, yet to teach, and yet dared to encounter. Who inspires, moves, and challenges you?
I spent the entirety of her six-hour workshop this weekend in a room with 150 other yogis. People who showed up from all over to be a part of that sacred space to breathe, sweat, and get uncomfortable with each other. It is a powerful vibration to sit on your mat in a bright, afternoon-lit room, feel a cool breeze coming off the ocean, hear the street below, take a huge intentional breath in and then release that sweet om with the collective voices of 150 other people. People all coming into the space with their most vulnerable open hearts, seeking to be confronted, awakened, challenged, and healed by their own work on their mats.
This weekend taught me that as teachers we have the beautiful capacity to teach from what we truly know. Our teachers offer us a way to access ourselves, because sometimes we need someone to show us another way of seeing so we can truly see ourselves anew. This is why we practice, why we show up day after day, why we find surrender and confrontation on a small rectangular space. We are all teachers here.
This weekend helped me see that we are nothing for others unless we can first feel moved, propelled, and fueled by those things that ignite our souls. When we allow ourselves the opportunity to truly fill up our own emotional buckets, we will then learn how to overflow into others without disengaging with our own needs. It's a profound truth to interact with, and one with which I am sure to continue to meld and maneuver all of my life.
Think about this...How are you igniting your soul, leaning into your solitude, making it to your mat? You are needed in this world, but first you must serve yourself, than you will burn brightly to light the way for others. This is our yoga. This is our practice.