Our popular contributor Kara-Leah continues her home yoga practice series, sharing a raw account of her internal process when facing discomfort. It’s direct proof of how practicing yoga trains us to stay with our experience.
by Kara-Leah Grant, Forty Days of Yoga – Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice.
This week, I’m shifting focus slightly. I want to share with you a piece of writing I did a year or so ago. It’s raw – it’s me right in the middle of feeling really uncomfortable. You know that feeling – when life sucks and you feel awful and you just want everything to change.
Usually, in a time like, we’ll do just that – change something or everything. Or we’ll find a way to distract ourselves.
Thanks to my home yoga practice, I’ve learned not to do this. I’ve learned to sit with discomfort. I’ve learned to observe. I’ve learned to let it go and keep coming back to what’s real, what’s present, what is.
That’s what happens in this piece of writing – you get a glimpse of my inner process as I’m wrestling with my demons.
Family weddings, family tensions, family love, family learning. Flatmates leaving, flatmates arriving. Full moons & solar storms… weather bombs (when did weather start bombing?) Cancelled workshops and rescheduled workshops. Plus there’s been all the usual doubts and fears playing havoc with my mind, whilst a shadow of knowingness reassures my heart.
All is well. And I feel like crap.
I’m spent. Exhausted. Over it. Over everything. I want things to be different. Me to be different.
I’m sick of writing about my process and my Self on my website. Maybe delete it all. Start fresh. Move town. Get a different house. Write a different way. Be a different way. Live a different life. Who am I again?
Then I open my inbox and find an email from a reader that makes me feel… humbled – in the same way I felt humbled teaching in Nelson on Sunday.
I walked into the studio and a glowing woman hurled herself at me in an open-hearted bear hug proclaiming;
You must be Kara-Leah! I love the Yoga Lunchbox!
What a welcome.
At that workshop? All I could see were these shiny-eyed, passionate, beautiful people honouring me with their presence.
Afterwards, they gushed about how brilliant it was, and as I listened, humbled yet again, and I realised I’ve still got some work to do on being able to receive. It’s hard to accept the accolades from truly satisfied people.
This afternoon, knackered, reading in the sun while my son naps, I pondered my writing. That which is me out there.
Me, me, me.
Why do I keep writing about me?
Why don’t I write about you?
The way other brilliant writers and bloggers do?
Surely you’d rather hear about you, over me?
Hell, I’d rather talk about you, over me.
I’m sick of me.
In the midst of all this… observing my feelings about teaching, reading emails from delighted readers, contemplating why I write what I write, witnessing the way I teach yoga and how I feel about it… I realise my mixed feelings all come down to One Thing.
The Same Thing. Who the hell am I to say anything to You? (I don’t know you.)
Who am I to teach You anything? (You already know it.)
Who am I to write about how You could see life, live life, experience life? (It’s Your life, after all.)
And when I write this down, to you, like this… I hear this small voice inside (you know the one) that whispers;
Get over it
Get over yourself
Stop using this as an excuse to procrastinate
Today’s feeling, the dissatisfaction and antsyness, it’s just a passing storm. A minor one at that. It’s symptomatic of some tears I need to shed, leftovers from the weekend I haven’t had time to clear out yet. No big deal really.
Once upon a time though… I’d feel that dissatisfaction and antsyness and I’d be on a plane to Mexico, or packing my boxes ready to move to another town, or hitting the town with my dancing shoes on and an eye for a gorgeous man.
Old ways of being, no longer serving. Let them go.
Be with the dissatisfaction.
See it for what it is.
Me. What’s in here, not what’s out there.
So I guess… Something is shifting and something is changing.
Now I can see the process, and I’m not drowning in the middle of it. I can pause… before reacting to it and creating more drama and more karma and more… I’m finally getting a handle on what facing myself means.
What it looks like.
What it feels like.
What the cycle is…
…because there is a cycle. Just like the year has seasons, so to does this process of awakening to truth have seasons. There’s ebbs and flows, ups and downs, triggers and releases. Back then, in the midst of the madness, it just all felt like chaos.
Now I can sense the rhythm and the flow.
There is comfort in that.
I can relax, knowing what I must do, and what will come next.
Right now, this dissatisfaction and antysness is just me wanting to be anywhere but here.
And that means all I need do is be here now.
Get out of my head and look around at right where I am and see how I can serve this moment.
Feed my son.
Do the dishes.
Crank up the dance tunes.
Do some yoga.
No longer am I dissatisfied and antsy.
Instead my heart swells with tears as I feel immense gratitude for all that I have and all that I am.
Nothing has changed at all – except me.
That’s all we ever need to change.
Not by me telling you what to do
Or you telling me what to do
But just by sharing
What we’re doing
How it feels
How we’re changing
It’s ok you know?
For me, to write, about me.
Just as it’s ok
For you to be you.
Kara-Leah is a writer and yoga teacher who has always been infinitely curious about the make-up of the human psyche and body. Regular yoga helped her heal and recover from chronic back issues, including a spinal fusion at age 16, and two episodes of psychosis at age 29.
Her daily home yoga practice began in earnest when people kept asking her to teach them yoga. She’s since trained as a teacher with Shiva Rea, and immersed herself in practicing, teaching yoga and writing about yoga. Kara-Leah lives just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand with her son Samuel.
She’s the publisher of The Yoga Lunchbox and has just published her first book, Forty Days of Yoga – Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice. She’s also a regular contributor to the Elephant Journal.