The Evolution of My Practice

I am currently sitting in my kitchen in St. Barths, simultaneously listening to the sounds of the ocean behind me & Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out of My Head" coming from the Jambox. I took a 90 minute vinyasa flow this am & have been inspired to finally write this post. I've had writer's block for quite some time now, but I'm realizing today, that even if my words aren't perfect, even if I could have, should have written more, I just need to get it down in writing. I need to start somewhere.

Around this time a year ago, my family & I were vacationing on this incredible island & being here today, I can't help but reflect on how much has changed in my life. To think it has only been a year is truly mind-blowing. When I look back on where I was at in life, my own personal growth leaves me feeling humbled & grateful. What amazes me most though, is how precisely reflective my yoga practice is of my every day life.

When I first started really getting into my practice, inversions were my jam! Something about going upside-down settled my nerves. Ironic, right? I'm a pretty intense person, this, I know, but only within the past few years have I felt like I've been able to channel my emotions into a positive outlet. I think that the act of inverting, of literally throwing myself full force into the earth, is really my way of just trying to ground myself.

Throughout my life, I've had trouble adjusting. It takes me a while to feel settled, pretty much anywhere. My life is kind of all over the place at times & it's so easy for me to get caught up in my head, worrying about where I'll be next or when I'll be getting there, that I often miss out on what's happening around me. Yoga teaches you to be present. Yoga teaches you so much about yourself if only you show up to the mat. It's not so much about the asana, but more so, the journey to get there. If you allow yourself to listen, you may be surprised at what your body is willing to reveal. 

I spent months practicing inversions. I would do handstands in the kitchen, handstands in the gym, handstands in the middle of the streets & while they are still an important part of my practice, I finally feel like I have my feet on the ground, no pun intended. Feeling settled, at least in my head & heart space, has enabled my practice to sort of evolve. Now that I feel stable, with both feet planted firmly on the ground, I feel like my practice has started to deepen. & by deepen, I mean that I've started the WORK IN. 

After I completed my Teacher Training, my usual practice of recreating my favorite classes evolved into me creating new sequences that I could then teach in my own classes! & while teaching has been so rewarding, it kind of shifted my focus from my own needs for a while. I've taken the last two months off from teaching save for a few classes here & there, but for the most part, I've focused on myself. I think it is so cool that now, whenever I hit the mat, my body just starts to guide itself. When you start to really feel the mind/body connection, it's like this beautifully scripted dance that's choreographed specially for you just starts to unfold. I swear, sometimes when I just go with my own flow, I'm amazed at what my own body can do & how fricken' good it can feel!

Most recently, I've been incorporating a lot of twists and binds into my practice. Both twists and binds offer a lot of benefits to the body. Much of our emotional traumas and/or baggage is stored in our lower backs. Whenever we are twisting, we are releasing some of that toxic energy. Think of yourself as a rag, wringing yourself our of the excess; of anything that is no longer serving you. Binds offer a similar detox by massaging your organs. Binds will help to loosen up whatever is still inside of us. They also open up the heart. 

I find so much beauty in where my practice meets my life. Between getting sober & really just wanting to get to know & understand myself better, I've been working on opening myself up. Opening up to feel things I've stored away, opening up to face my fears & most importantly, to open my heart to the world. It's no coincidence that my practice has evolved in exactly the timing it has. & while I still feel like my heart chakra has been a main focus throughout my practice, I feel like lately my sacral chakra has been woke. I have a lot of stored energy there, that I've only just begun to listen to. 

As I stated before, when you allow yourself to listen to your body, you may be surprised at what it reveals. In these moments, these moments of perhaps discomfort, moments of perhaps clarity, there is a healing that starts to take place. Yesterday, I was working on my splits & the energy of the house I was at brought back some feelings of nostalgia that somehow allowed me to address a particular issue in my life that I've kind of been denying. I sat in my split, folded forward over my front leg & for a brief moment, I cried. The release that I was provided with, was almost like a completion of healing. I allowed myself to feel what I had been holding on to & letting the tears fall, letting the weeps come out freely, without judgment...it was like a little gift to myself. No one knew that I was secretly crying in the corner, having this sort of revelation, but I knew & truthfully, that's all I needed. 

I'm not quite sure what it was today that has compelled me to share so much, but I am so grateful that I am able to. I am no greater than anyone else & my struggles no different than yours. We are are connected & we are all one. Sobering up, keeping a consistent practice & continuing to reach out to those around me, even if it scares me a little has not only given my life some sense of direction, but it has instilled in me to always remain grateful. Grateful for the good days & even more grateful for the tough ones. There are lessons everywhere, in each situation we encounter, in each relationship we form & as a lifelong student of this here trip, I am ready to learn more. 

I challenge you all to do something outside of your comfort zone today. Do something that scares you & see what awaits you on the other side. When that little voices arises, telling you you can't just remember that that's the ego & we all have one. In quoting one of my favorite authors, Michael A. Singer, "there is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind- you are the one who hears it." I challenge you to dig a little deeper & to get to know yourself some more. "When a problem is disturbing you, don't ask 'what should I do about it?' Ask, 'what part of me is being disturbed by this?'"

Wishing you all a beautiful weekend, I'm off to the beach!

XO,

Alex