Reflections from a Forrest Yoga assistant
As many of you already know, I'm just back from a month in the US assisting a Forrest Yoga Foundation Teacher Training. Although I physically landed back in Scotland just over a week ago, it's taken me more time to ground myself on other levels (as well as catch up on sleep!).
I wanted to share some of my reflections with you. Mostly to help myself process my learning. But also in the hope that some of my realisations might resonate with you too.
So what did I learn? Well, I had many revelations about myself. About the process of change. About Forrest Yoga. About my commitment to being a lifelong student of this practice as well as a teacher.
Narrowing it down here are my key reflections and realisations:
1. Breath is everything.
This sounds so obvious, right? But it is true on so many levels. When you take a deep breath you nourish yourself at the most basic and essential level. You give yourself time and space inside to feel. As a Forrest Yoga teacher, one of the main things you learn is to use your breath as your ally. As a way of fuelling your energy and connecting to your real teaching voice.
The breath is a gateway into your feelings. And your feelings are the core of who you are. They are the truth. The breath is how you distinguish between the voice of your ego and the voice of your true self. When you connect to how you feel and speak from this truth, you are in your power.
2. Change is possible and it's never too late.
There were people on the training from all walks of life, of all ages. This was hugely inspiring. It can be easy to give up on ourselves, and believe that it's too late for us. "If only we'd made a change five or ten years ago, but now, what's the point?" The truth is, as long as you are still breathing (see realisation 1!), there is always a point.
3. Change requires commitment and a consistent daily practice.
Just because change is possible does not mean change is easy. You need to commit to making the changes you want. Then you need to show up for yourself. Every day. Even when you don't get it right. Especially when you don't get it right. When you do this, change is possible ... as per point 2 :-)
4. Some things (like self-doubt, a big one for me!) may not ever go away.
Now this may seem contradictory to point 2, but actually it's a very empowering realisation. In my mind, I always thought I'd reach some magical moment in my life when I was no longer plagued by self-doubt, self-judgement and criticism. In many ways I still held myself back waiting for that moment. What I learned was, in reality, those out-dated ways of thinking may always be there and trying to suppress or ignore them doesn't work. It's about learning to deal with them more skilfully so that they don't hold you back from change (see point 2!). Wherever you go and whatever you do, you take your old self and your new self with you. Your new self is the kinder, wiser, more compassionate and courageous version of you. This self is skilful at recognising the old thoughts, doubts and criticisms for what they are. And choosing to respond differently. This takes commitment and daily consistent practice (see point 3!).
All-in-all, I'm so glad I listened to my intuition and took the opportunity to assist this training and work with two incredible Forrest Yoga Guardians, Cat Allen and Heidi Sormaz.
The experience has certainly helped me to continue growing into a more skilful and wiser version of myself. I feel stronger, not just physically (although a daily two-hour Forrest Yoga practice will certainly do that for you!) but also emotionally and mentally. I feel more focused and committed to the practice than ever before (on and off the mat!). I'm excited about what this means for 2017!