Happy June 21st. Summer solstice and the longest day of our year.
I woke up this morning at 5:20 in order to participate in the 108 sun salutations guided by Kate, my yoga mentor and YTT leader.
One of the most beautiful changes in my life was the opportunity to deepen my relationship with yoga. I took the unraveling of my personal life at the end of 2018 to guide me head first into a spiritual journey with yoga and myself that led me way beyond asana.
A major component of the changes that have provided growth was my experience in yoga. What started in January as a low point in my life- A new city, climate, relationship state full of uncertainty, yoga studio and jobless has me 6 months later with so much love and gratitude for the growth and uncomfortable place ive been in through this season of life. I am entering the peak of summer with so much appreciation for even the hardest things that have been points of contention in the last 6 months.
A way of honoring the seasonal changes through the practice of yoga is by completing 108 sun A salutations. Consisting of a series of asana postures that flow and build heat through the body, renew energy, and provide a moving meditation practice. It is often done for the fall and spring equinoxes and on the winter and summer solstices as well as for the new year or any other major place for change. Meditation and reflection often accompany the 108 and are a great addition to any 108 class being led.
The significance of 108, my experience with my 108 this morning, and where I am headed is as follows:
108 is a sacred spiritual number in many cultures:
-108 names for buddha
-108 beads on a mala which are used to count in meditation
-108 is twice the number of 54 which is the number of sanskrit sounds
-108 sacred points on the body in ayruveda
-the distance between the sun and the earth is 108 times the sun’s diameter
– 108 appears often in ancient texts
Being the longest day of the year, the summer solstice represents fire and sun. The Peak point of the year. A burning inside of you and finding power to help fuel accomplishments and productivity. Its also a time to reflect on past intentions and evaluate where you currently are.
for me- it does feel like a peak but also sums my tying of loose ends. I am moving out of Milwaukee, but i’m not starting school or winding into fall yet. I am transitioning from a melancholy difficult winter and spring into a exciting, motivated version of myself this summer. I am headed to Ecuador to teach yoga twice a day, and preparing training for my fall races. I am setting new intentions, and finding purpose and motivation in my passions. With things being so difficult in my last season of life, i lost a lot of my usual motivation and found myself often frustrated. Clearly, things are not all figured out but I do feel that in some ways I am making my way out of the woods and the mental strides in the last month have been just paramount.
I have also learned the beauty in letting go, and what it means to control only yourself and your actions. at the end of the day, as much as you care and love and want to help or think you know whats best for someone you love, the best thing to do is to stay in your lane, and do whats best for you. only your gut, intuition and heart know the answers. half the time when we ask for advice, we aren’t really asking for advice anyway. we are desperate for someone to listen to us, someone to hold a safe space or to provide a sounding board for us to speak our hearts out loud and come to the conclusion that was already within us with the occasional prompt to help us look at things in a different way. Those in our lives that truly want the best for us will never tell us what to do or what not to do- they will only support us on our own paths and provide love and support along the way as we navigate the ebbs and flows. Those with strong opinions usually are charged from a personal motive, or the response is a direct reflection of them and something they’ve been through.
The most important thing this last season of life has provided me is approaching things from a non-judgemental standpoint. That sounds like a no brainer, but taking a step back, how quickly are we to jump to narratives and come to an opinion or conclusion on someone else’s life? even if you have details, you truly have no idea what the person is feeling, going through, and needs. Providing space to let them feel, trust, love and work through things is one of the most powerful tools we have in our ability for human connection.
Time provides all answers, and guides us. We have some control, but when we try too hard to make deadlines, or pressure ourselves emotionally, it backfires. patience, compassion and hard work bring all the best outcomes. emotional introspection, sitting with our feelings, journaling and doing what we feel is best in our hearts rather than pressure from those we love and care about , will always lead us to the right place. we have to trust in that.
This morning’s 108 was bittersweet as Kate led, and I flowed next to one of my fellow teacher trainees, Haley. I resonated with the meditation, music and energy. I worked up a heavy sweat, and tears flowed at the end as i made my way into a childs pose next to haley. Feeling the breath, renewal and rejuvenation, fire and love, it was the ending of my time in Milwaukee and in the studio that i poured my heart and soul into as i navigated my messy life. It will always be a place i look to with fondness and love.
I truly believe all people, places and things that find the way into our lives provide growth and teach us about ourselves. I don’t know that i would say everything happen for a “reason” but, if you look hard enough, its easy to find lessons learned, hearts open, and self growth in every phase or stage of life. Especially a hard one that feels stagnant for awhile. On the other side, there is always, always a silver lining.
in summary, I truly feel the most connected to myself and where I am going than I have since last August. 10 months of feeling so lost, and though its not all figured out I have a direction, feel at peace, and am truly thankful for my beautiful support system and those that have stood by me as ive brought myself out of the storm.