Today I had one of those life changing yoga experiences. The kind that, despite years of practice, exposure to handfuls of incredible teachers and participation in countless exquisite sequences, leaves you feeling breathless with rapture. Completely and utterly bit by the bug.
It’s a funny phrase to use there, to have been “bit by the bug,” considering I’ve been practicing yoga for years and am a teacher myself. In this past month’s issue of Yoga Journal, there’s a great article detailing how to maneuver the end of one’s honeymoon phase with yoga. I never experienced any such waning of my practice. Sure, I noticed a shift after a length of time that I could deem the “end of my yoga honeymoon,” but it was subtle. For me, this shift occurred when my practice became less about the neatness of hey, I practice yoga and all about the discovery that I was peeling back layers of myself that I didn’t even really know I had. I was getting a glimpse of my true nature, and it was only just a teensy weensy sneak peek.
This was all before my yoga teacher training. That’s when I really got an introduction to what the terms “true nature” even mean. All that they encompass. That’s where I, to the credit of Mynx Inatsugu’s exquisite philosophy lessons, began to understand that I would spend the entirety of this life I’ve been blessed with practicing true yoga. Peeling away the layers and observing what’s underneath. Without judgement. Without attachment. That’s enough of a practice for a lifetime.
So when I say I was “bit by the bug” today, I don’t mean the bug that is yoga. I was long, long, long ago bit by that bug. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I was bit many lifetimes ago by that bug. What I mean is the path, the very nature of the soil that lines my personal path, was mirrored back to me today through a vibrant, world renowned and compelling teacher’s words and being. Today I met Seane Corn.
Never have I encountered a teacher, or fellow being for that matter, whose message so vitally resonates with mine. And I’m almost half Seane Corn’s age. So I guess it’s far more apt for me to say it’s her life’s work with which I find such congruency. It’s not just her mystical, faerie dust, magic sparkle land charm that drew me to her (though all of those attributes sing directly to my own little sparkly magic faerie heart!). It’s the confidence and certainty with which she presented herself, her story, the practice. Again, Seane Corn has been doing this for almost longer than I’ve been alive, so I don’t mean to sound surprised or as though this is any news to anyone how incredible a human being this woman is. I just mean to say that she gives me hope. Hope for where I might be when I’m in my mid-forties, spiritually (but also mentally, professionally and physically). If you’re not familiar with Seane Corn, she’s a brilliant, world-renowned yoga teacher, healer, activist, humanitarian and founder of OTM, among many other things. Hope for all of humanity. Hope for our earth.
Seane is said to combine “the asana practice with a commitment to the inner emotional and spiritual journey” as the “foundation of her teaching.” In just a few hours with her, I can say this was exactly my experience of Seane’s teaching style and M.O. It then came to my attention that I, unsurprisingly, share many deepest beliefs and even spiritual guides and mentors with Seane Corn. I, in many ways, seem to be walking a parallel path to this woman who, as of 6 months ago, I had never even heard of. And now this parallel is infusing my very being with a potent energy. It’s further awakened in me my power of purpose.
I realize I’m young, quite young, and perhaps it shouldn’t shock me so much to meet someone (with 23 years more life experience than I have) with whom’s teachings my soul feels so immediately at peace. At home. Being young, I often find myself in question…with myself! I get tied up in what others will think of me for not drinking alcohol, consuming caffeine, eating meat, partying, what-have-you. I am über conscious of what I put in and on my body, what products I will use in my home, I’m as conscious a consumer as I can be and am ever-increasing my global environmental awareness. This is who I am, but it doesn’t mean I don’t often feel like the odd one out. Meeting Seane and hearing her story, hearing her recite nearly exactly what I just wrote out, was nothing short of incredible. It was so eye-opening to listen to listen to a world famous yogini, a woman with whom I powerfully identify, telling me what I already knew but wasn’t able to really swallow just yet…we have to own ourselves. We must know who we are and be unabashed about it.
Well, I’ll admit. I was given clarity today. The clarity felt so brilliant, especially having come from a place of 50/50, suspended in a bit of confusion. I’m sure of who I am, my beliefs, my morals. I’m sure of how I’m living my life. And yet (ah yes, the inevitable “and yet…”)…half the time I’d feel grounded and rooted in those morals and beliefs, hell bent on living my truth and setting my own standards, regardless of how others might misinterpret my intentions… completely able to see the beauty in it. The other half of the time I found myself feeling very judged, totally ungrounded, completely in question and feeling slightly isolated. The latter was all self-inflicted too, mind you. I haven’t been judged overtly. Yes, family members have made comments and I know there are plenty of friends and people who don’t necessarily understand my personal yogic path nor the choices and statements that come along with said personal path. But they’ve never left me feeling as judged as my very own subconscious has. The whole back and forth felt a bit whiplashy, to be frank (and to make up a word). Once the blasted moment of doubt would pass I’d feel even less grounded and a bit of a fraud for ever having doubted myself, and all that I so fervently believe in. Especially in the name of fear! How could I do such a thing to myself?
Well, in Seane’s presence today, I realized that I don’t ever have to question myself again. Sure, my lifestyle might seem extreme, boring or absurd to some. But does that matter? It matters what it seems like to me. It matters that what I’m doing, how I’m living, makes a difference to me. It matters that it makes a difference to the earth, to the vibrational frequency of the Universe, to my fellow sentient beings of all species. That’s what matters. It matters that we all live that way. By living in such a way, we will by no means all live in the same way. That can be a hard pill to swallow for some, especially those deeply dedicated to healing themselves and the planet, when so many others are completely oblivious to their own wellbeing, much less mother earth. But the ways in which Miss Corn approached this notion today in class, with such subtle and easily digestible suggestions, I felt a sense of empowerment coursing through me.
This was not just a fellow eco-conscious, vegetarian, non-makeup-wearing, Caroline Myss admiring, animal loving yogi speaking to me. This was an embodiment of the very path on which I walk. An element of my dharma personified.
I felt all at once like the starry-eyed little sister who wanted to be just like big sister someday, and the powerfully unique force of cosmic nature existing inside flesh and bone that I really am. The experience was overwhelming and delicious, unnerving and irrevocable.
We are not alone. We are not weird. We are not misunderstood. We always have our Selves. We define weird. We are the only ones to ever truly understand any filament of our own being. To have a message to spread, and to awaken to that message, that is something truly beautiful. A gift. To encounter a teacher to has been spreading for decades the very message your soul whispers day in and day out is discombobulating and grounding all at once. Discombobulating in the best way and grounding in the deepest sense.
I came out of today not infatuated with a teacher (though Seane Corn is exquisite and I can’t wait to be front and center in her next workshop), but rather an idea. I came out with a ferocious wind billowing my sails. I emerged with a sense of certainty that the Divine is alive within me. The blood of Divinity that courses through Seane Corn and all other like-minded beings also courses through me, and so many others, and this Grace transcends generations. It is, I hope, the way of the future. It is, I pray, making sparks in the veins of others walking barefoot through this same soil. This deeply unique and yet utterly human soil.
It’s a blessing to come to the certain knowledge that one’s own being has purpose, it’s a gift to discover the courage to infuse that purpose with self-empowerment, and it’s a privilege to breathe life into the passion that has the potential to fuel radical change.
May we always breathe life into our passion, and may we fearlessly stray from the shore, sails swollen with the power of purpose.