When I experienced the power yoga had to bring people together and to bring out the best in them, I knew I had to dedicate my life to it. I made it my mission to share it with as many people as possible. The only problem with my approach is I started to develop an idea that yoga was THE answer… not a tool to seek the answers. I became yoga’s self-appointed ambassador (more like self-appointed missionary I would have to say) and learned about as many styles as possible so I could easily counsel anyone I met about the kind of yoga that would work for them.
My heart was pure in its intention but I learned the hard way (sometimes that’s the only way I learn) that I had become a fundamentalist. I created an idea that my way was the best way. Then one evening, I woke up.
It was a spring night in Dallas and I was supposed meet a friend an an event in downtown but her phone died mid-call and I didn’t know where to meet her. This was before good cell phone batteries. I was already eating dinner at my favorite place in Deep Ellum so I decided I should look up some live music. I looked up the usual venues and found this band Dawes was playing nearby. This venue had an outdoor area and it was really beautiful at night to stand outside among the trees and listen to live music.
The crowd loved this band and took ownership of it the way you claim your best friend – there was so much respect and love floating in the air – it was palpable to feel how much this music meant to all these people. Then they played their last song (pre-encore) “When My Time Comes” and the crowd lost their MINDS! They were singing in unison at the top of their lungs. It was like the most wild version of a church service I had ever seen. Then they played their encore song “A Little Bit of Everything” and I could feel the impact this music was having on everyone – everyone was FULLY present. There was a range of emotions people were expressing but you could FEEL this crowd believed this band was speaking FOR them. These artists had tapped in to something greater and they were making an impact that mattered. This was EXACTLY the same feeling I felt when I saw what yoga was doing for people. It was in that moment that my myopic life’s mission expanded.
I’ve collected a huge amount of live music experiences since then and I know the power music has. I’ve been prepping a class to feature some of my life-changing live music moments. The goal of this class will be to teach us how to think of every moment as containing the pure potential to change our lives. I’m crafting playlists for several class styles and levels. This will be something you won’t want to miss.
I like to bring my life-changing moments with me on my yoga mat. Objects hold energy and I have two beside my mat that mean a lot to me. The parrot was my mentor’s and the shell was my grandpa’s. They both profoundly changed my life and they are with me every time I step on my mat.
This morning, I went to get my mail and found a package from my dear friend, Madeline. She was responsible for cleaning out some of Jeffrey’s things after he passed and she asked me if I wanted a book from his bookshelf. She sent a copy of “The Prophet”. The timing of this book’s arrival couldn’t be more divinely crafted. Jeffrey will now take his place by my mat.
Yoga can be elevated to a profound experience EVERY TIME you practice, but you have to invite the sacred. Here’s how I did it: I started every practice in an extended Savasana, taking inventory of where I was and what I was working through in my life. I would set an intention for what I hoped to cultivate from that practice. When I transitioned from standing poses to the floor, I would bow to myself with gratitude. It used to be a joke but I would thank the yoga gods after every class. Make your yoga space sacred. Even if you don’t have a dedicated yoga room, you can make setting up your space before every practice a ritual. Magic happens when you infuse awareness with intention.
It’s important to start your practice with intention and end with gratitude – so just find your own way to arrive at that and see what happens. If you are more of a 2 on the woo-woo scale, fake it. Just try it, even if it seems silly and pointless. You’ve got nothing to lose and the potential to experience something profound.