In January 2018, my doctor looked into my eyes and said, “You will be dead in a year.” He was wrong. I am still here.
Do I credit yoga for my health and well-being? In fact, I do. Early on in my yoga practice I read Desicachar’s book, THE HEART OF YOGA, in which he states that through the practice of yoga what once was impossible becomes possible over time with practice and devotion. I was devastated when I received my death sentence, but quickly realized that if I believed what my doctor told me, if I bought into his prognosis, I probably would die as he had predicted. This phenomenon is known in science as the Placebo effect.
Instead I visualized living into my future and I planned accordingly.
I set an intention to be healthy and well in every way and I repeated this intention many times daily.
In June on 2018, my husband, Jimmy and I attended a Qigong healing workshop with Chunyi Lin, the creator and founder of Spring Forest Qigong.
Since then we have done The Five Elements practice and the Small World Meditation every day without fail.
I worked extensively with a healer, Mary Maynard, who taught me the importance of joy in my life.
When she asked me, “What brings you joy?” I had to admit that I did not know.
Now I do and I make joy the highest priority in my life. Chunyi says joy is happiness for no reason. Experiencing joy means taking time each morning to ask myself, “What constitutes a really good day?” An outstanding day always starts with a latte. Then I write morning pages, practice yoga, qigong and meditation, followed by a long walk or a bike ride. Teaching, spending time with family and friends, and cooking healthy food all contribute to the manifestation of joy, as does avoiding urgency and taking time throughout the day to be still and to listen.
Dr. Herald Benson in his book, Timeless Healing, explains in detail the importance of positive energy in our lives.
Where we place our thoughts our energy goes.
He also affirms that the body requires deep relaxation in order to heal and renew. The body has the capacity to heal itself but we must set up the conditions for that healing. The “relaxation response,” gives our immune system an opportunity to do its work. Many of you have had just such an experience in savasana, the time of rest at the end of every yoga practice. I have to admit until I got sick, I never understood the need for savasana. I was always ready to move onto the next thing. Not anymore. I crave deep relaxation and am grateful for its benefits.
When I started yoga 27 years ago, I drank excessively, smoked cigarettes, and was bulimic and suicidal. All that changed, over time, through the practice of yoga. My first yoga teacher, Felicity Green, told me:
“Don’t set lofty goals and don’t try to change overnight. Let yoga do the work.” It did.
Now alive and well, I want to share what I have learned with others. I am super excited about teaching Qigong, deep relaxation, meditation and yoga that is grounded in the movement of the breath, not the physical body. I never dreamed I would open another yoga studio, but here I am delighted at the prospect of serving my community, of making Cooper Street Yoga a destination for students and teachers alike, a place where we can come together to learn and share our knowledge with one another.
Yoga is a path, a roadmap, a way for you to find your inner wisdom, the teacher within; to hear the voice of your soul and to learn to trust that voice, to follow your intuition, to live into your own dharma.
Each of us came into the world as a grand idea, a Mahat, and we each have a specific purpose for being here.
Suffering occurs when we try to live a life that does not resonate with the soul.
How would it impact the world if each of us abided in our birthright, a wellspring of joy, peace, kindness and compassion?
Would we not then all be peacemakers, healers, people who are willing to serve others rather than our insatiable egos? Perhaps then we would, as Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
That’s my dream. What’s yours?