Being Unapologetically YOU

I don't practice yoga to be a perfect human being, honestly my deep practice of yoga helps me to simply be a better person.  This yoga journey has transformed me away from being a person who carried every guilt and every wrong decision. My past was like a backpack filled with stones that represented all "my sins"… carrying them wherever I went.  I even slept with them.  Sleep was my worst enemy.  I can remember taking Advil PM's every night, just so I would not be with my own thoughts or feelings; not the best thing to do when you have a very overworked nervous system.  Now I'm free.  

How long is long enough to beat yourself up for being human and living through situations in your life that your spirit needed to go through to grow? I allowed negative thoughts and living in the past to seep into every cell of my being, to the point of becoming toxic.  It all had to come to head at one point or another.  

"I held onto every word taught to me like they were a life vest thrown to me in the depths of my own ocean of despair."

For me it was right in the beginning of Yoga teacher training.  I had some traumas that had made themselves quite comfortable in my body, as anxiety, panic attacks, and negative thoughts that would not stop. The mind is a powerful thing.  I remember reading somewhere about the power of your mind and how they hooked these olympian runners up to electrodes to record their brainwaves.  Well, in the study they had the athletes imagine running the race and winning; actually running the race step by step in their minds.  Tests showed that the brain waves were no different between the actual running and the visualizing of it.  This really resonated for me with how much my past was affecting my present.  

I was actually reliving those moments over and over again.  It is bad enough that we live through traumas not just once, but by holding onto the past we continuing that vibration of negativity. Sure, my past comes up within me at times making me feel not so good, but now I look at it with love and acceptance. 

Through meditation I learned to sit with all those emotions that were stuffed down deep inside of me.  I can remember one particular time in a meditation that we were doing in teacher training. It was called Trataka - gazing into the flame.  Staring into that flame brought up the most intense sense of grief and guilt, so much so that I started to have a panic attack and had to leave the room.  This emotion of grief rose up in me like a rogue wave, with such force, I thought at that moment I would never get away from such a horrible feeling.  I was fighting it, sitting on the front step of the Yoga center, crying, shaking, and looking for a way out.  I looked over at my car and thought of driving as far away as possible.  

In my panic I looked over and saw one of my teachers sitting next to me in a calm manner, putting her arm around me and speaking words of self love and forgiveness.  She hugged me.   Her vibration let me know that I was loved... unconditionally.   It was her vibration that anchored me into the present moment; words weren't necessary.   I sat there inhaling lavender, slowing down my breath, and just feeling her calm energy, I rode out this rogue wave of emotions, like a surfer who didn't want to die.  

That was one of many panic attacks I had and let me tell you, after that initial one happened at my place of training, anyone who has experienced these knows how that memory of that place becomes a trigger for more to come.  It was a struggle, to say the least, to come back to the source of my release of all those pent up emotions.  Even practicing yoga at other studios was a trigger.  Yoga itself was.  I just knew in my heart I wanted to be better and not be a prisoner of my own mind.  

So, with one foot in front of the other and with trepidation, I showed up to every class thereafter.  I wanted to be free and live the life that I was meant to live.  Yoga healed me.  I held onto every word taught to me like they were a life vest thrown to me in the depths of my own ocean of despair.   You can only run for so long from all those things that hold you back and then with courage you must face them, to be able to move forward in your life.  

My intention with Yoga training was not for the sole purpose of teaching, that was not something I was intending to do.  I entered Yoga training to save me from myself.  It was not the easiest of journeys , but one that was self-healing and much needed.  I learned I am not my past, I am this person who I am today, and yes I am an accumulation of every thing I have learned.  I am now unapologetically me - a Yoga teacher who wants to share with you how I transformed my life into something worth living.  

Jennifer HagermanComment