It was a little chilly out this morning. When I pulled up to the little Shala where I practice yoga, I scurried out of my car to quickly get out of the cold rainy Florida weather. It felt so cozy when I walked into the heated room, and it was a blessing to see everyone practicing. I don’t know if it’s the shift of the new year, or if today was just special, but my heart instantly warmed being in the presence of these souls. I didn’t know it before I walked in, but the support of just being there was exactly what I needed.
I walked further into the space to set up my mat, and was greeted with a smile, a hug, and a “Happy New Year,” in an enthusiastic whisper. I felt love. I stepped on my Manduka, and started to chant. Then, I started practice. Surya Namaskara (Sun Salutations) felt so inviting. My legs felt a little weak and stiff, but my hamstrings embraced the flow of Upward and Downward Dog. I just let the breath take me – observing the feelings, sensations, distractions, changes in breath. I became a witness, and I allowed the energy to squeeze me tight like the hug that you’d get from a friend you haven’t seen in 10 years.
About halfway into standing, I realized that one of my obstacles is accepting and allowing love. I tend to get all bent out of shape in my mind. I know exactly when I am doing it, and I know it’s my issue. I’m not quite sure where it stems from, but I have an idea. Perhaps it stems back from old friendships where I was betrayed, or relationships where I let myself be controlled? There is no one to blame here. No one to be mad at. Life just happens. Things just happen. We learn. We grow. Sometimes the issues we have are hard to let go of.
Sometimes we hold onto suffering because it is all that we know. It’s a weird sense of comfort to fall back on our problems. No one really wants suffering or drama, but sometimes it’s hard to imagine living without it, and we create it without even knowing or seeing the pattern. It’s just ingrained, which is where a yoga practice comes in handy. Yoga is THE tool that allows us to become more and more conscious and aware of our obstacles so we can be more compassionate, loving, and happier people.
As I continued to practice, I continued to bring it back to the breath. I became so grateful for the community of friends, family, and yogis that I have in my life. I want to be there and love everyone like they love me. I want to love unconditional. The first step in all of this is loving myself, treating myself with compassion, and observing any judgement, irritation, or anger, and realizing it is my own. Taking a deep exhale and letting it go.
When I finish practice, I usually dedicate my practice to a someone that I feel could use extra love or healing, but today I dedicated it purely to love. I told myself that I was going to allow myself to be loved. Learning to love myself is the only way to be better for everyone else. I cherished this moment and locked it in my memory.
Sending love your way…