This is my practice. These poignant words come from recent cambio YTT graduate and first time Yoga Living Project guest author, Alyssa Corley. If you're looking to go on a journey through expression and artistry, read some of Alyssa's experience of the human condition below and we dare you not to get instantly pulled in. Share your interpretation of all things life, love and yoga by reaching out to
I’ve been spending a lot more time in my car recently. There are good moments...podcasts to catch up on and songs to sing out loud and time to focus on drinking more water. Recently, someone in overalls and a sparkly helmet passed me on a motorcycle, and I felt like, in that moment, all was right with the world. Eccentricity lives on. Often I will catch a sunset that highlights the mountains so beautifully my breath catches and I think to myself “now that’s a peak pose.”
Then there are days like today. Each moment feels full of hassle, full of chaos, full of spinning and falling and I know I’m off balance. I tell my partner “I don’t know who I am. I can’t seem to find myself.” I search for the inner truths that lie deep within me, I attempt to find that elusive Higher Self but my search leaves me lonely and depleted and I wonder why I try. The cars circle around me like a merry go round full of steam and sadness and I see the people in their vehicles...faces determined to find their next destination...so that they can find the next and then the next. I want off the ride. The sun beats down on my car and I know that light encompasses me, all of us...but I can’t find it where I need it most. Inside. I can’t find it inside.
You see, once you’ve tasted goodness, sweetness, compassion, transformation...it’s virtually impossible to stop craving it. Wishy washy flavors of busyness and callousness and ego driven endeavors will never satisfy. Unfortunately, in a culture steeped in consumerism and activity and comparison it can be challenging to stay true to who we are meant to be. It’s difficult to find that love, that desire to do what’s right...and send it out to others and to ourselves.
So, I do the only thing I’ve learned that works for restoring my internal harmony. I practice loving awareness. I become a witness to my breath, the way it rises and falls in my chest, automatically...tirelessly serving me moment by moment. I feel gratitude for oxygen, for organs...for something free. I begin to watch my thoughts and what they are saying to me. I notice them and then take them for what they are...just thoughts. I send them love. Then, I practice giving myself second chances...on a day like today I practice asana.
In my car a song comes on called “You’ve Got to Love Yourself.” I know it isn’t a mistake it played at this very moment. I bring awareness to my spiritual eyes, my intuition, and I take pleasure in this moment of magic, of mystery. I laugh that Source, the Universe, notices that I’m being intentional and sends me messages through the car radio. Spirit is like that...always meeting me in the ways I need to be met.
I find my way to the studio and unroll my mat. I want to hide instead of being surrounded by others, my vulnerability at it’s max...twisting and sweating and putting myself into positions that take strength and focus. A quote is shared about love and my heart is penetrated when the words tells me that i need to love all the pieces of me, even the parts that are longing and searching and feeling out of balance.
A tear escapes my eye and hope that if anyone sees, they will think it’s sweat. Then I hope, or wish, that someone would see it and tell me how to change what I’m feeling, instruct me on what step to take next, which hand to pick...which numbers to play. That doesn’t happen though because, I know, in this hour of working and breathing and listening to cues that I am the ring leader of my own thoughts, the instructor of my soul, the transmitter of internal peace. I wipe the tear and tune in. I listen to my body. It doesn’t want to balance today and I’m not surprised. My leg waves back and forth as I force it where I want it to go. Then, I do what I was created to do...I extend grace to my
being and I gently place my leg down behind me. I hold this pose, my pose, not the one the rest of the room is doing. This is my practice.
I go through the hour noticing my breath but, mostly, I scan my body and I follow it’s lead. I send love to my fingers and to my wrists, my shoulders and my abdomen. I send love to my knobby knees and the feet I often feel ashamed of. I practice thanking them for the way they carry me throughout the day. The adjustor kneels down and rubs my soles. My mind tells me to be embarrassed but I let it go. This is my practice ... stilling the voice that says “you are unworthy” and accepting that I am worth it ALL. I sink into the squishy surface and into my massage and I notice the gift of this moment. I don’t attempt the peak pose this evening because I realize, that right now, lying on my mat bathed in sweat and self love...I am the peak pose.
I come home feeling much the same as I did before I left. I’m still tired and feel overwhelmed with dumb things like the state of my refrigerator and the best way to moisturize cracked heels. One thing has changed though. I know who I am. I am love. I am able to love myself even when it’s really, really hard. Because of that, this active loving intention, I can love others. The commuters tomorrow will still be in a rush. There might be honking and scowls and numbness...but I can be calm and joyful and a peaceful presence. They are my practice. This life is my practice. This moment is my practice.