Karma Yoga has brought so many unique an beautiful souls together. I am blown away by the sincerity and passion of each individual I encounter in our classes. On and off the mat, they shine so bright and are honestly working to not only find a little more gentleness in themselves, but to help create a softness in this rigid world. Kelbi is always so present on her mat, and so eager to soak up all the goods that yoga has to offer. I hope her words inspire you to find a new level of inner peace and balance, the yin and yang of our own life's journey on and off the mat, the way they have done so for me.
My yoga practice represents so many things in my life. Not only is it a time when I can relieve stress and try and shed what the day or week has piled on me, but sometimes it is as if it’s only place I can truly be that day. One evening in class I was having a hard time getting into focus, into my “yogi” mindset. As I stepped onto my mat, a realization came to me. I comprehended for the first time the literal size of my mat. That may sound ridiculous – but it was really a spiritual shift in my paradigm of yoga and my practice.
I recognized this small space was only enough for me - just me and my body; my whole self. Nothing else could fit comfortably on the mat while I was practicing. This, I realized enabled me to let go. To release and push away everything within me that seemed to be making it hard to be on my mat at the moment. No one and nothing could exist on my mat without it being uncomfortable, awkward, or limiting. This discovery empowered me to make this conscious choice every time I arrive on my mat. Using my mat as a shield, armor, a protective space in which I can be a warrior (literally. ha.) for my body and for my soul.
Accompanying this sense of strength, I have found, must also be gentleness. Many of my instructors, through my time practicing yoga, have always encouraged me to be soft and compassionate to myself and to listen to my body. One of my favorite poets, Victoria Erickson, reminds me of this concept in a short quote and I believe she puts beautifully what I now try to embody on my mat.
“We are complicated creatures, and ultimately, the balance comes from this understanding. Be water. Flowing, flexible and soft. Subtly powerful and open; wild and serene. Able to accept all changes, yet still led by the pull of steady tides. It is enough.”
I have heard many similar quotations and meditations from various instructors and yogi gurus. The concept of having subtle power and accepting changes flexibly and with softness, truly enamors what yoga means to me. Wildness and stillness. Serenity surrounded by chaos. All guided by the pull and push of the breath.
Yoga, to me, is healing. One of my dreams in life is to become a yoga therapist. I want to build spaces in which anyone can come to discover what it is to find center, to be grounded at the heart. A place where one can feel worthy, loved and connected. A realm, if you will, where there is both awareness of the darkness and the lightness within us available for us to explore with the support of our mats and our fellow yogis.
Yoga, to me, is about the journey through my body into the person I am becoming. The practice, the body, the soul; these are the only things I believe we have control of, the only things that keep us flowing.