Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

2012.  A year not to be forgotten.  Dragonfly Yoga landed in the north valley and spread its wings with a mission to offer a space for transformation.  My desire to bring yet another yoga studio into this world stems from my passion for yoga.  Or better yet, because if I had not, I would bust!  Yoga transformed me.  Yoga saved me.  Yoga showed me another path that brought me to my higher self.  For the first time in my life, I have something to share.  Yoga is a knowing, a knowledge that comes from deep within, not because someone told me, but because someone reminded me.  Yoga is a remembering, a waking up, a deep stretch into a hidden knowledge that has always been there, from a cave within me.  I mention in my first blog that I would share my story later so here it is in a nutshell or sutra.

My twenties and the first part of my thirties I was living life with eyes closed.  John Lennon said it best, “living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see”.  In my twenties I was married, working days, and going to school at night.  I lived on diet cokes and fast food (yes, I know), late nights and little exercise.  I was also living with endometriosis, a very painful disease that brings infertility.  Advil was my drug of choice to get through most days.  I entered into my thirties with an amazing job in sales and was doing very well for myself.  I was happy because of external gain.  A hysterectomy in 2003 relieved me of my endometriosis pain forever.   My infertility was never grieved because I was too busy with life and told myself that I did not want to have children anyway.  By 34 I was working as office manager at my husband’s law firm.  However, fulfillment and true happiness was out of reach. My body was starting to cry out for help.  My knees were shot, my doctor was suggesting surgery.   I had heart palpitations, insomnia, bad skin, low back pain, to name a few.  However, success was apparent on the outside, but I was drowning on the inside.  Looking back, I imagine a very small speck of an individual with the vortex of yoga whirling around her.  Yoga had been a curiosity for years so one day I looked up “Yoga Albuquerque” online and Bikram Yoga popped up.  I called the studio and talked to the then owner, David, who told me to start drinking water and wear comfortable clothing to class.  Anyone who practices hot yoga will know why I needed to hydrate!  Something special happened in that room.  A fire was before me and I jumped in.  My body began to change.  My mind began to calm.  My breath began to deepen.  My eyes began to peel open and the light before me was bright.  Within the first year I knew I wanted to teach and by year two I knew I was going to open a studio.  The means were not there but I knew it would happen one day.  The pain in my knees went away thanks to Supta Virasana.  I slept like a baby, a deep sleep, the kind of sleep I had as a child.  One day I realized that my heart palpitations had melted away.  Gone!  What is this thing they call yoga????  It is a science and an art, Michele.  Oh yeah, I remember.

Another change happened, I was very aware of lying.  Everything around me was a lie.  My life was a lie.  I told so many lies during a day and I was very aware of each and every one of them.  That was painful!  I couldn’t do it anymore.  This fiery practice of Bikram yoga was starting to refine me on the subtle levels and I was letting it happen.  With this refinement brought change and this change brought something very painful, separation from my husband of 15 years and two years later, divorce.  I did not attend another Bikrams class after my separation.  I did not need the fire anymore.  I collapsed on my mat at High Desert Yoga and entered teacher training.  It was there that I began to understand why I was so aware of lying.  Non-lying is one of the yamas which is the first of eight limbs of yoga.  As the yamas, Niyamas, klesas,vrittis, pranayama, and asana were presented to me, it was more of a remembering than learning.  I had moments of, “oh yeah, how did I forget that?”   Satya (non-lying) became about no longer lying to myself.  This is the hardest thing to do.  You can no longer be the victim if you cannot lie to yourself.   Ahimsa (non-harming) at the thought level is liberating because I could no longer judge myself.  Aparigraha (non-grasping) at the thought level is a life-long lesson or letting go.  The study of Ayurveda was a lesson of self-acceptance.  I am a vata girl and when vata is out of balance, I can expect anxiety, worry, insomnia, forgetfulness, and fatigue. Believe me, I lived here for many years.   When in balance I can expect to be lively, enthusiastic, creative, and energetic!  No more do I have to wonder, “what is wrong with me?”  I am either in balance with myself or out of balance and there is no more judgement!  How liberating!

As I practiced asana, I began to grieve my infertility. The refinement of yoga was going deep and going after emotional pain I thought was not there.  Thankfully through salamba sarvangasana (shoulder stand) I could no longer ignore it.  As I inverted into this pose, it was as if my empty womb was falling into my heart.  That was very painful emotionally. I avoided this pose for months and to this day, I only practice it with a chair.  Asana brought to light that I had to deal with this and I could no longer lie to myself that I did not want children.  Every day is a journey toward healing!  One day, I will not use a chair in sarvangasana…today I do and I am okay with that.

Yoga is a seed of life within me that was dormant and the hard shell around it finally cracked and was receiving oxygen and water.  I couldn’t help but sprout and grow!!  Yoga has brought transformation and vibrancy to my life. I wish I would have found yoga earlier but I trust that I stumbled into my first yoga class at the exact time and exact place I was supposed to.   My purpose on this earth is to share yoga with my community.  My desire for Drangonfly is to provide a space for those who are seeking, for those who know they need to make a change but don’t quite know how, for those who are ready for yoga.  Yoga is always there….it is there for you when you are ready for it.  Are you ready?

Thank you for reading my story.  I hope to connect with you on this journey we call yoga.

Here is to a transformative year!  I’m excited to be on this path of change!  See you on the mat!

Blessings,

Michele

THE YOGA CHALLENGE by Tara Ford

THE YOGA CHALLENGE

My family teases me because every week I search out the Alibi so that I can read my horoscope.  I like the notion that the stars can give me a little guidance, although I admit to only a pop culture understanding of astrology.  My horoscope for the first week of November urged a focused exploration of a new opportunity, pointing out that November is the month that thousands of people challenge themselves to write every day.  I remembered watching a great Tedtalk about the potential for sustainable life changes just based on committing to something for thirty days. [1]

 

So what does this have to do with yoga?  I decided that my November challenge would be to commit to practicing yoga everyday for 30 days.    Why?  Because Dragonfly Yoga – the teachers and my fellow students — is a space where I can be simultaneously alone on my mat and surrounded by an incredible community.   I wanted to deepen my understanding of yoga and what it might hold for me.  These are the kinds of moments I cherish:

Angelle’s gentle reminder “what a friend we have in yoga.”

Cypresse doing a shoulder-stand, holding herself up between two chairs, and with a little encouragement, I found that I could do it too.

Hunter patiently leading us through Ashtanga poses every Monday and Friday, the very routine unveiling the newness of each moment on the mat.

Lori nurturing the community through book club, candle light mediation and, of course, asana practice.

Allegra explaining the story of Hanuman flying across the ocean and encouraging us to embody that loyalty and action in our pose.

Emily explaining how to breathe wide and expand out.

Liz making all poses seem possible, even if a little crazy.

Michele taking the great leap of opening her heart and this space, encouraging us all through practice by asking gently “yes?” after demonstrating how to ease into a pose.

 

And then there are my fellow practitioners, who have supported me through handstands, backbends, and camel.  People who have been next to me as I sweat buckets, touch my toes, fall on my face, balance, straighten, open, fold, and rest.

 

Has this changed me? Starting Saturday with a yoga class with Cypresse is a very different space than starting Saturday with errands.  My weekend starts with movement and introspection and that difference has holding power.  Yoga after work helps me let go of work and come home open to my family, wanting to tune in to them, for real. My husband and daughter made space for me to set this goal and reach it, and I hope this experience creates space for them to make new choices in their lives too.

 

Angelle is right, what a friend we have in yoga.