Trusting the Wisdom Within

I drove over to the other side of my beloved river this glorious Sunday morning for a yoga class for the first time - not quite three and half weeks after surgery. I was going to observe a class taught by a wonderful Inspired Anusara Yoga teacher. I did not think I would actually do all of the class - perhaps just some poses here and there. It was a Level 1-2 class that ended up being perfectly sequenced for me, and consisted of very basic poses that we worked very deeply.

After all, what is advanced yoga? Just the other day, I read this quote on Facebook by Lois Nesbitt, who was my own assessor and mentor in my certification as an Anusara Yoga teacher years ago, and who currently serves with me on the Anusara Yoga Curriculum Committee:

"Advanced poses do not make an advanced yogi. You have to work this thing from the inside out. Otherwise, head for Cirque de Soleil."

And this coming, from one of the most advanced practitioners that I know! So, we worked as advanced yogis today - doing work that was deep and nuanced in basic poses.

On my drive over, I reflected on all the changes I've experienced since my surgery. Many of them are quite personal, but I will share that as a result, I've experienced profound change. For example, I was no longer able to wear my "rudrasksha malas," or any of the jewelry I had worn for years - for they were so infused with a different kind of energy that in many ways was heavier, and more karmic. The only pieces that wanted to stay on me where my gold "OM" pendant I had especially commissioned for myself, and my medal of "Miraculous Mary," that had come from her Chappelle in Paris. Her healing energy has assisted me dramatically in this past year, since she made her presence known to me, in two significant dreams.

There are other more subtle changes too - experiences of an incredible sense of lightness and freedom, spaciousness - and an absence of fear.

In my last entry, I wrote about the right timing of my surgery. I have always trusted my inner wisdom, even when others try to impose their own on me. The only times I have ever gotten into trouble in this life, is when I have allowed someone else to impose their viewpoint - and override my own. And while there are many yoga friends of mine who have recently weighed in on what I should - or should not do at this point in my recovery - I have trusted the wisdom of my own body at every turn. I have "listened" - just as I listened to my body tell me that my ovaries wanted to stay in and not be removed during surgery.

I was delighted to be observing Natalie Miller's class at Willow Street Yoga Center. I believe that the stars and the universe conspired to get me there today. The theme of this class was perfect for me - as was the sequencing, and it felt delicious in every way to be there.

Natalie's theme was derived from the first line of the Anusara Yoga Invocation: "OM Namah Shivaya Gurave," which she weaved seamlessly throughout the class as she worked on the action of "shins in/thighs out." I jotted down many insightful comments from her exquisite centering and class which was both inspiring, and truly a spiritual practice in every way. Her words were meant for her students, but I heard them as though they were meant for me, and so I paraphrase here...

"OM Namah Shivaya Gurave - I honor the Supreme goodness within and all around me... I sign myself up to experience everything as good because of the next part - 'Gurave' - which has two meanings... A guru is one is weighty - he/she is the one who is heavy as a result of a lot of practice. But the other meaning is - the one who takes and transmutes the darkness into the light - because this is the one who is the true teacher...

The action of "shins in/thighs out" - is a quality of muscular energy which provides stability - and it is also an embodiment of the first line of the Invocation - "OM Namah Shivaya, because it is saying - 'I honor the parts of Shiva - of the Divine - that resides in all things.' Engaging the shins says - 'I want to access the power that lies within me so I can go deeper.' Widening the thighs is an affirmation that 'I want to incorporate all the parts of myself into the practice so that I can know who I am more deeply.'"

Time and time again, Natalie referred to the "Gurave moment" in the practice - where we trust our inner wisdom - realizing that we are all in a different place.

One of my principle teachers, Maria Hamburger, has impressed on me time and time again, throughout the years, the need and importance of embodiment in the practice. Another one of my principle teachers, who is my current and regular teacher - Suzie Hurley - ever the wise one - and the director of Willow Street Yoga Center - has encouraged me constantly as I have struggled the last three years in the physical practice. She has shown her light and her enthusiasm every step of the way - without judgment - in a very loving way - and within the context of the safe, warm, and healing environment she provides in her classroom.

Trust your inner wisdom... All three of these wonderful teachers have reminded me of this. I cannot begin to express how blessed I feel to be part of this community of extraordinary teachers. I cannot begin to express my gratitude for the larger Anusara Yoga community, anchored in the vision of its founder, my primary teacher, John Friend.

I drove home, full. I drove home inspired and filled with awe and bliss, bordering on ecstasy. I drove home filled with gratitude to experience my first class so soon after major surgery, feeling energized, and filled with light and goodness, the heart qualities that Natalie highlighted.

How blessed and lucky am I to once more have confirmed the importance of trusting the wisdom within!

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