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Creating Spaces in Mind, Body and Soul

“Just as light brightens darkness, discovering inner fulfillment can eliminate any disorder or discomfort. This is truly the key to creating balance and harmony in everything you do.” - Deepak Chopra

I have fallen in love. Yes, I have fallen truly, madly, so deeply in ♥ with Yin Yoga.

I never would have imagined feeling this way, after all, I have loved other exercises and whatnot in the past, such as hula hooping, but this one feels so different. I think it’s more than the movement and process I have fallen for, but the meanings and metaphors that it conjures up for me. Although yes, the breathing, the emptying of thoughts and just being with the moment are equally wonderful, it is perhaps the timing of all this falling into place that means so much to me.

Let me backtrack a little bit before I continue. I have wanted to try out yoga for the longest time, perhaps since way back in 2007 during that dark night of my soul. However, when things started to clear and I felt no more need to be in the quiet to converse with my soul, and because I thought I had found the answers and defined happiness for me, I let it go. After all, I always said, I barely have enough time to juggle my many jobs, right? Why add on something else that will consume my time “unnecessarily”. Also, while people may still laugh at me when I say this, I still struggle with having to extend myself socially, so calling and inquiring about classes, going to these studios or shalas, was gonna be a stretch right? So….there. I didn’t.

However, as I ushered in 2011, two things became clear for me. One, I was going to learn French (random I know but just go with it!) and two, I would finally make it to yoga. Of course the procrastinator in me kept dilly dallying but earlier this week when I was in the mall, I passed by a store selling a beginners kit for yoga. On sale. I let it go at first, but there was a stirring in me that was so strong that I just had to give in to it.

That night I asked my online friends for recommendations and information about yoga places in the south of the city where I live and someone sent me two numbers. I got in touch with them both and by Thursday, I got my first taste of yoga. The first session was good. After class I immediately texted this other friend of mine who kept telling me to explore yoga and said “I think I love it”. But there was still some ambivalence there. Then yesterday, I attended a workshop for the same type of practice and not even midway through I knew I was in love.

Going back to the metaphors of things, what really drew me most to the practice (emotionally, I should say) is how Karen (the first teacher) called it “your dark practice”. When she said that I felt my breath get caught in my throat because it is such an apt metaphor for me. Anyone who knows me well enough, or has read my blog long enough for that matter, knows how much I hate the night…the dark…the rain…the quiet aloneness. It is a time of struggle for me, and of fear and sadness. I thrive in bright sunshine and in restless movement and energy of creation and expansion. Being still with my thoughts was never easy and I often found ways to dismiss that. I realize now, however, that all that creative energy that stirred (such as Project Sunshine) when things were difficult was my soul’s way of balancing yin and yang.

But yes, trust me to find that type of a yoga practice, right?

But in the past few months, I have learned to feel safe enough in that darkness. I’ve stopped needing to move or do things to be able to make sense of things. And yes, I have learned to find bliss in the silence. I think my blogs reflect those moments, too, as when these times came, I found it hard to write. At first I struggled with it, but soon enough, I just let it be and I noticed that without the struggle, the words came just at the right time. I suppose it is exactly as my dear, dear  friend once put it, I seem to have learned to love the rain even a wee bit for the healthy mournings that it represents and the necessary pains it brings.

In last night’s workshop, what sealed the deal for me is how the teacher, Dona, kept repeating “creating spaces” throughout the session. It brought to mind an image I once talked of in Jung class and described lengthily to my wise sage during our many sessions, in which I described this thing called emotions, as one of those long gold chains that somehow get tangled for some reason or other. This is  particularly true when it comes to feelings of sadness and anxiety…they get so deeply overwhelming that the thoughts and emotions in me get all tangled and…ugh.  So my image for that, when asked to describe how I felt in words, was a gold chain all knotted and tangled. And the natural instinct to unravel this is to tug at the knots, right? But you know how no matter how hard you try to fix it by pulling or tugging it doesn’t unravel? That was how my emotions at that dark night of the soul was. But  like that chain, when you let go, lay it flat on the table, gently shake it up a bit, you make enough space for you to maneuver and find a way out of the tangled mess. That’s what I was reminded of during that yoga session…to make space in the clutter of my mind, body and soul in order to be able to see the bigger picture. And by creating these spaces, breathing through the moment, letting go in complete surrender no matter how uncertain, uncomfortable and unfamiliar, things just fall into place.

Again, those who know me can say that doing that is not easy for me. I do like the ‘clutter’ because it comforts me even if it is confining. I thrived on that and holding on to old patterns and forcing myself to keep on wearing shoes that don’t fit are comforting because I know what to expect and so I cling on to these oh-so-tightly. But lately I have slowly been learning to let go of these in many facets of my life — from from losing weight, to letting go of the it’s complicated, and laying down the ghosts of relationships past as well as rekindling relationships that mattered, despite old hurts and to being okay with sitting in silence and so the timing of finding my way to yoga is simply amazing.

I’m not chalking it up to chance that I fell into Yin Yoga nor do I call the amazingly breathtaking metaphors I find in it coincidences. I know in my heart of hearts that while it may not be the “typical” yoga I had expected, it is the right one for me and this is but yet another one of those fortunate accidents or synchronous signs from the Universe reminding me to let go and just be. I am comforted in knowing that despite the long wait to get there (to yoga class I mean), it came at the right way, shape and form for me.

And so this is me, creating new space. As I do so I take pause and just whisper a quiet ‘thank you’ to the heavens above for the people and things that have led me down this path.

  • #1
    Posted by Tj on February 16th, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    Hey, am from the south, too and been in and out of yoga. Loved it when i tried it before in 2005 but certain dark episodes and laziness got in the way. My stumbling across your blog is a sign i should pull up my tail back to a yoga class. May i ask where you found yours? Much thanks,

  • #2
    Posted by yapatoots on February 16th, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    hi tj,

    there are several shalas in the south area. i go to one in alabang, ekagrata sala, (ekagratasala.wordpress.com) and a private one nearby as well. there’s also one in casa susana in the town center area :)

  • #3
    Posted by Tj on February 17th, 2011 at 6:10 am

    Thanks for the leads! Btw, i reposted your blog on silence on my fb page. Hugs!

  • #4
    Posted by yapatoots on February 17th, 2011 at 7:58 am

    thanks dear :)

  • #5
    Posted by The Very Hungry Catter-yogi | Open to Grace on January 22nd, 2012 at 1:03 am

    [...] quite apt that I started my practice with Yin Yoga. Perhaps that was like the little egg that needed to be hatched. In yin I learned to curl into a [...]

  • #6
    Posted by Go Deep With Yin at Beyond Yoga | Open to Grace on February 15th, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    [...] experience ever. For a beginning practitioner back then, it was the perfect way to discover and create spaces in my body and to understand what the practice of yoga can really do for one’s body, mind and [...]

  • #7
    Posted by Yin, Yang and the Full Circle | Open to Grace on December 31st, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    [...] did not just provide me an access point to my body and open up the tight spaces that had been created by time, habits, and life. It gave me a means to open up my heart and soul to [...]

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