"Awareness Creates Change" this is what my body worker tells me as I'm lying on his table explaining the myriad of strange sensations in my body. Awareness creates change, I think as I feel into my feet, how they are flatter and more balanced. I think about my feet more now as I walk and stand, after having the fascia (connective tissue) on the sole of my feet worked through. I'm more aware of my muscles, how they articulate and work together. This is where I am now in my practice, but not where I started.
I came to yoga in college. As I remember, it was as a result of stressful academics and the challenges of transitioning. We had the most incredible yoga teacher at the University of Vermont who taught huge classes to the undergraduate community. She was a goddess. Her name was Kerri. She had the ability to hold space for hundreds of us to come, move, and feel. I left her classes feeling a little more capable. Like I could handle the workload, the uncertainty of early twenties. In her classes I was mostly learning to feel into my heart. I was not thinking about the fascia on my feet.
Over the years I tried many styles of yoga, mostly craving that same soulful sensation Kerri created. Slowly, I started to observe what different styles did to my body, how my muscles felt when I left, mostly in my shoulders.
After I graduated I knew I wanted to explore my practice deeper. I wanted to be my own teacher, was my thought. I wanted to know how to use yoga to heal my body and the places inside of me that ached. I started to look around for trainings and was overwhelmed. How would I know? Which style, which teacher, which location? How do you pick?
A fairy godmother of mine (also known as an Aunt) asked if I had read a book by Ana Forrest, Fierce Medicine. I hadn't. I did. I took the book with me on vacation to Maine. I sat on the beach eating potato chips and reading about Ana's life and experiences and the evolution of Forrest Yoga. I put the potato chips down. They weren't feeding my spirit.
I found Ana's closest teaching offering. I went, I breathed, I sweated, I thought holy shit this is way different. I was intrigued, and kind of scared. Ana was different than any other teacher I'd met. She was so real. Realness is one of my favorite qualities in humans, and everything. She talked about the real shit that comes up in life. She said fuck. She talked about sex. She also asked me to stay in a Warrior II longer than my little legs had ever stood. My body delighted and my soul was brighter.
She was my teacher. In April of 2013 I left Colorado for San Francisco to study under Ana. My two goals were: A. Learn to be my own teacher and B. Get my ass kicked.
Well, many things happened. Through the training I realized I love teaching, not just for myself but others. I realized I need teachers and I always will. I did get my ass kicked and realized I could take it, that there is a reservoir of strength available. I found a practice that I feel deeply committed to. I realized that there are things in my body that I need help with, that there are skillful healers who can offer wisdom (and untie the knots in my shoulders).
Over the years what I've wanted from yoga has changed, and what I have received has changed. Awareness creates change. As I learn to listen to my body and my spirit my practice evolves. It is limitless. It is a place to explore and cultivate. To intimately fascinate on what my spirit wants. To feed that to my body. It tests my ethics. It shows me where I am still learning. It has given me a passion, a life-long relationship to develop. It has taught me how to breath. It has illuminated truths that have long gone hidden. It has put me back into the center of my heart. This is why I practice.