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Photo by D Barnes-Boniface

As a Yoga teacher, one of the questions I get asked the most is, “How did you get into this?” When I hear that question, I smile, I take a deep breath…

AND I LIE.

I start to tell the story how, when I was in my 20s, my neck went out. In search of relief, I found a Yoga video and VOILA, here I am today. It’s not entirely a lie. It is the truth in that it really happened. But it is not “how I got into this”. More accurately, it is not why I am here. What I conveniently forget to mention every time is the mysterious-looking purple and pink book that still sits on my shelf that talks of Kundalini Yoga. That book, more than any neck spasm, is what catapulted me into this vast Yogic world. That book, when I first laid eyes on it, sent shivers down my spine (or up my spine if we are to speak of Kundalini). Even today as I write about it, it takes my breath away. I had to touch that book. I had to hold it. And when I cracked the spine on it, I began to cry. All very mysterious for a woman who had grown up in a Catholic household.

Within the pages of the book were photos of a man dressed all in white, contorting himself in the strangest ways. There were odd (to me) poems speaking of the powers of the postures. Certain breathing patterns, chants and lifestyle habits, when put into play consistently, could bring about a spiritual awakening and transform a life. It was the word “spiritual” that ignited a spark deep inside of me.

HERE IS THE TRUTH

I came to Yoga to find God.

I did not honestly arrive at the mat to become limber or to fix my crooked neck. Those were glorious byproducts of what I was genuinely seeking. What I really wanted was a way out of the icky, dark experiences I was having as a human, and a way back to the experiences I had had since I was a child, experiences where I knew, unmistakably, that something larger than the everyday had just taken place. And please don’t think those moments involved parting clouds, angels singing, and ethereal symphonies. No. They were split second moments in time as I peered into the eyes of an animal or really saw the vulnerable insides of a flower. Those moments sparked, and re-sparked, a longing that I could not describe. I still can’t. And the longing is still there. I feel every day like I’m reaching out for something that is just beyond my grasp. Whatever it is, I know in my heart of hearts, that it is there and it is possible to touch. No one and nothing can convince me otherwise.

Stepping onto the mat, I feel closest to this “thing” for which I ache. I return again and again and again so that I may feel that closeness. I want to feel that closeness every…single…day. That is what truly sustains my practice.

So, I came to Yoga looking for God. And it all began with a purple and pink book. There, finally, is the truth.

Namaste.

Tabitha

allow a refuge where all your feelings are welcome

Danette Relic

The Guest House

by Jalaluddin Rumi

Translated by Coleman Barks

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Photo by Michael on Unsplash

The life pouring through us, pumping our heart and breathing through our lungs, did not begin at our birth or conception. Like every particle in every atom and molecule of our bodies, it goes back through time to the first splitting and spinning of the stars. – Joanna Macy

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