"One who knows crying knows spiritual practice. If you can cry with a pure heart, nothing else compares to such a prayer. Crying includes all of the principles of yoga." ~Kripalvanandji
On my knees, palms together, forehead touching my mat, the tears fell one by one hitting the dark blue surface beneath me. I couldn't stop the tears from flooding out of me. I sat there, with my hips sinking down towards my heels wanting to get up, to move, I wanted to leave the room. Why is this so hard, I thought? "This morning's practice will be in honor of your soul, your light," he said, "It's you, burning bright, a bowing to yourself and the light within."
Here I was folded over on my knees bowing, and bawling. With every sweep of my arms with every breath upward, the hot tears streamed down my face. As we exhaled and bowed, we said, "AUM JOYTI ATMAN," which means I bow to the light within my soul. I bow to the sacredness that lives within. As we kept moving, the tears kept falling, snot now running down my nose, Yogarupa made us laugh and there was even more snot, as a smile came through the laughter, I felt as if I was in some ways being torn open. In that moment, I simply didn't care what other people thought, what I looked like, or even what my teacher thought. There were things that I held in me for far too long, things that separated me from knowing myself that had to come up and out of me. I cried, I grieved, for what was lost, but now I cried even harder for the realization that I could no longer hold myself back. I pressed down through my left foot, lifting my right, my arms stretched out in front of me, "eight breaths," he said. "Hold here for eight breaths." My leg stretched behind me. I felt the shaking subside, and all the sudden I felt as if I could hold the pose forever. I pressed down through my standing leg, belly pulled in, I breathed. I pressed through my lifted leg, flexing my heel. I could feel every part of my body engage. I breathed into my chest, into my belly, then folding over my standing left leg, I bowed to myself. As one more tear rolled down my cheek, I began to get comfortable. "Aum Joyti Atman," I said loudly feeling the vibration pulsate from my throat into my entire body. I felt myself relax. The tears subsided. I did, what I came here to do. I honored myself, I bowed to my light, in all its beauty, in all its glory, in all its splendor, I bowed. I bowed again, over and over, each one with more steadiness and ease. I felt my body surrender in all the places I had held on so tightly, my breath became more and more steady, I held the pose. In that moment, I knew, I was back. I have been back. I am whole, and now it's time to embark on the journey of being who I am. It isn't to suggest that I haven't always been myself, but it is to note that I haven't given myself permission to fully exist-- recognizing the light within my soul, acknowledging it and bowing to it, I finally allowed myself to see it and feel it. It felt for the first few times, like I was in some way betraying a pact I had made with... perhaps myself. That I would keep myself safe from harm if I stayed invisible. However, God, time, yoga, my teachers, my parents, my friends have simply made being invisible to much to bear. Each time I have stepped onto my mat, has been a breaking open and now my heart, my soul feels what it's like to be free. It feels tremendously scary at first but with a little time, I think... I could get used to it. :)
So, my dear friends, even if you never step onto a yoga mat, I still think we owe it to ourselves to bow, honoring the sacredness within. Acknowledging the light and the dark, the pain and the joy, embracing it all while we dance with freedom to be who we are and who we've always been.
This I say, as I bow to my own light, I bow to yours. :namaste:
"True detachment isn't separation from life but the absolute freedom within your mind to explore living." -Rathbun