Where do I start?
Firstly, before writing further, I would like to express how grateful and blessed I feel to have been given this opportunity for self-discovery that I have been craving for so long.
It may sound silly but since watching Juila Roberts in ‘Eat Pray Love’ and reading the memoirs of Elizabeth Gilbert’s adventures, I have become increasingly drawn to follow my own path. At the age of 31, I have spent a long period of my life becoming educated, working hard, building a career, striving to maintain difficult relationships that would ultimately fail.
Meditation, yoga philosophy and self-reflection have made me realise that I have everything I need to live a happy, healthy and well-balanced life. It is hard when the pressures of society guide you down a one-way road; to work and earn wealth, to marry and have children, to buy expensive goods and offer a misconception of power, status and success.
For me, living is being in this present moment. We often dwell on the past or plan for the future, but how often do we appreciate the present? For this part of my journey, I will start by talking about my yoga teacher-training in India.
I now know that yoga teacher-training is unlike any other type of training. That isn’t to discount other types of training and learning, whether it be sports camps, college and university classes, work study days or conferences, all of which I have done. While the combination of my past learning has helped me to complete my yoga teacher-training, there are many differences.
I completed my 200-hour teacher-training programme at Abhinam Yoga School in North Goa, with a group of 10 other incredible (very individual) students. We all arrived from different parts of the World, with our own experiences and personal circumstances. The course was led by four Yogis; three Indian women and one from Japan. We studied for twelve-hour periods, over the course of three weeks, beginning with 6.30am asana practice and little rest between classes.
If well motivated, I believe you can get through any type of training or learning, without giving into vulnerability. With yoga teacher-training, you are not able to process it unless you give all of yourself to it, wholly and completely.
It asks for higher faculties of the mind to memorise the asanas, master Sanskrit terminology and understand the deeper intent behind Patanjali’s ancient yoga sutras – to interpret timeless spiritual concepts that philosophers can still not agree on. It asks for your commitment to bodily awareness, to feel proper alignment in your body, to recognise imbalance in others and know when you are not performing postures correctly. You have to develop a confident asana practice to enable you to relay it to others.
It asks for trust. To trust the power and force of your breath, which will progress your ability to hold postures. To listen to and trust your thoughts. To dig past all the chatter to the wisdom that lies deep within. To learn from yourself.
And there is so much to learn! This is just the beginning, a small snap shot of the yogic life and the start of a new life.
I cannot explain the newfound bond I have between my mind, body and soul. I feel more energised than ever before and in the best shape of my life. I am the strongest version of me, physically and mentally. I know it sounds ‘corny’ but I have experienced the yogic way of living: meditating each day, eating healthy vegetarian food (yogis believe that you should not eat anything with a similar consciousness level as a human, as you consume so many of their emotions and mental state), as well as practicing asanas for two hours every morning.
Studying yoga doesn’t automatically bring you happiness, it won’t erase the difficulties in your life, but it will give you the tools to see things from a clearer perspective. You feel safe to explore yourself, the good, the bad and the ugly. It is not until you accept yourself completely, that others can start to accept you.
I was lucky to share my journey with four particularly special women, all of a similar age, and each on her own spiritual journey, searching for self-awareness, acceptance and belonging. I always felt supported by them and I know we will continue to stay in touch. There were moments we shared when I felt truly happy. Happiness such as I have never felt before (unless I have been at a festival and slightly intoxicated, which I no longer need). These moments were mostly when chanting mantras in evening meditation and dancing to Hare Krishna, losing all inhibition and fears of judgement. You simply have to be yourself and embrace the moment, that is all you can ask.
At the end of the yoga class that I taught, I repeated a reading that I found and that resonated perfectly with the journey that we shared.
I read it during savasana:
Just show up, as you are. You don’t have to look or feel great. You don’t have to be prepared for each challenge or know the hows of every situation. You don’t have to be fearless, or have all the answers, or be 100% ready. Nobody is any of these things. Nobody ever was. It’s not about being perfect, at all. You just have to show up, as you are, despite all the objections and insecurities in your mind, despite each and every fear that threatens to hold you back, despite the limitation and criticisms that others will place on you. To hell with it all. This is your life, your journey, your adventure, and all it’s asking of you is to show up for it, as you are. That’s enough. That’s more than enough. That’s everything.
- Scott Stabile
I would like to dedicate this blog to my amazing friends and family for always accepting me and encouraging me to follow my own path, with no doubts or judgement.