Education has always been a shining light in my life. I still remember my first yoga training I took almost 20 years ago. Whether it was a training or a book, an interaction or sitting with one of my teachers I love the process of evolution and transformation (most of the time). Sometimes learning about the Self is joyous and other times it is intense, emotional and difficult to keep walking my path. In the end, I have found that it is all worth it.
Recently I journeyed to England for an 8 day Yoga Nidra Intensive to continue my education and my own process of growth. (Yoga Nidra is a simple lying down meditation technique that can offer rest and healing to the participants.) To be honest, it was the first retreat I have ever taken. After 18 years of teaching it was time. My mind and heart were learning from the beginning. No one there knew me. They had no expectations of who I was, what I knew, or why I was there. I just showed up as me. It was so freeing to just be me. Not the Mindy anyone knows or expects something from. Ahhh.
Six days into five nidra practices a day my body said “No. Please sit down.” We were in the middle of a simple practice of movement to encourage prana shakti, the power of energy, to move through us. If you remember one of my earlier emails this year, I hit a tree while skiing on 1/2/18. That tree continues to teach me as I explore movement, breath and the other practices yoga offers. When Uma, the teacher, checked in with me moments later the words came out as tears and sobs. I think I was crying for the Mindy I used to be, mourning for her loss as I discover who I truly am. As Uma nurtured me and held space for my process to unfold she kindly looked at me and said, “It isn’t the doing that hurts. It’s the undoing that brings pain.” Yes, the undoing. Getting rid of the old things, patterns, habits and traits that keep holding me back but feel so familiar that I don’t want to let them go.
I cried for those parts of me that were untangling themselves on that misty day in Cumbria, England all the way until dinner time. I think in some way we all do this to ourselves. We hold on to our bad habits and early life conditioning even when we know they aren’t good for us. It’s like you know you shouldn’t be eating that tub of chocolate ice cream, but somehow you can’t put down the spoon. Or when you make a thousand excuses not to go to yoga or meditate for 5 minute, even though you know you will feel better if you actually did those things. There was so much I was holding onto. So much I knew about and so much had no clue about. Yet it was time to cleanse myself of the pain and struggle it was causing me.
A big part of me has believed that my value was only proven with my actions. That I could be helpful, productive, and in all the things I could show for my life. But, that is not true. I am valuable because I am. Not because of anything I do. If I know my own value, then all my actions will come through from a place of openness and fullness and will be received even better. We all suffer from this lack of value and self-love in some degree. Why do we have to put ourselves through all this struggle and suffering? I guess it is because that is how we were taught. Our parents suffered from the same plague. They did their best. But learning to love yourself for who you are not what you do was hard for them too.
I believe it is time for this cycle to end. It is my job to do this for me and for my family. And honestly, for all of you, who are a part of our Maitri community and those of you beyond. If I can break the cycle of self-negation, even self-loathing and replace it with a deep knowingness that I am utterly worthy and loved, then maybe, just maybe one or two of you will see that shift and want to make it for yourself. And the expansion of self-love begins.
I am so grateful that I took time out for myself to ponder me and learn more. If you are interested in Yoga Nidra I highly recommend the Total Yoga Nidra Network, based out of England. If you are looking for something a little closer to home, we offer amazing yoga trainings through our school here at Maitri. The Essential Yoga Training begins again on April 14 and we have room for 4 more. If you are already a teacher and are still looking for more our Master’s Path Training is chock full of amazing yoga education and expansion. We have wisdom workshops monthly and we are planning a retreat for later in the year.
I can’t promise that if you take one of these trainings that you will have a cathartic day of crying like I did in Cumbria. But, I can guarantee that you will learn about yourself and you will have friends there with you as you choose to do something good for yourself.