Embodying Liberation

EMBODYING LIBERATION –> Rock bottom is fertile ground for seeds of personal revolution they say. That’s where I found myself.
My non-profit salary left me with food insecurity, late bill payments, and overall inability to self-advocate and self assert. My most trusted friend group was disintegrating into turmoil. And to top it off, I had just walked away (with restraining order in hand) from a toxic relationship with a closet sociopath. All within a 5-week span. Maybe I was 6 inches beneath rock bottom. Knowing that the body settles the score, this trauma found its home in my reproductive organs. My body responded with blood clots, hemorrhaging, abdominal muscle spasms that made my entire body feel like it was under siege.

After a long night self-medicating and a serious wish to no longer exist, I found myself on the ground. With everything heavy, I couldn’t move a muscle. The only strength I had was offered to my next breath. At that moment, I realized breathing was my only hope. And therefore, the only thing that mattered. The next day I sought out free opportunities to learn how to breathe. I would go before work and I found that each pose conjured new things out of me. Shocking, devastating, curious, terrific, cathartic things. I would sink my hips back in child’s pose and tears would flood down my cheeks. I would bend my standing leg in a peaceful warrior’s pose and somehow I found a little more grit left in me. I would simply sit cross-legged and forgiveness would spill out on me.

Even as I write this, I can’t help but get emotional and filled with gratitude. I sit with the effects of each flow and I know that yoga saved my life.

And now, 4 years and a 200-HR certificate later, I know that if it doesn’t change your life, then it’s not yoga.

This is how I know yoga was made for those who dare to be courageous. Once we get more curious and go beyond asanas, we will find that yoga is a practice that provides skills to build harmony in life. It is a practice that reminds you of your greatest power and illuminates all of your weaknesses. It is a practice that deepens your compassion for Self and expands your loving reach towards community and the collective.

My experience of the profound healing effects of yoga also comes with the reality of how the Western yoga world has yet to be fully whole or courageous enough to operate without harm. The yoga world (yoga studios, yoga events, yoga merchandise, experiences) is a microcosm of the larger reality we live in which is currently hyper-individualistic, capitalistic, lead by cis-heteronormative patriarchy and white-supremacist ideals. People of color are marginalized, discriminated against, and harmed in the yoga world just as they are in regular life.

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