We recently began a weekly complimentary yoga class for clients enrolled in the David Lawrence Center, Collier County’s only not-for-profit community mental health and substance abuse treatment provider.
We begin each session stating our core feelings (angry, sad, hurt, pain, lonely, fear, guilt, shame, love, joy, peace, hope, gratitude, happy, willing, humble). Acknowledging what we are feeling now is a tool to help us land in our bodies and in the moment. The feelings are not right or wrong. You are feeling what you are feeling and the practice is to not attach to what you are feeling.
Emotions will come and go like the wind. It is not the emotions that get us stuck in our anger or unhappiness it is what we attach to them and the stories that we create that have us stuck. Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth states “you cannot be unhappy without an unhappy story…Emotion in itself is not unhappiness. Only emotion plus an unhappy story is unhappiness.”
The students coming to this class are at such a raw place in their lives. Many feel shame, guilt, fear and anger yet their honesty, openness and willingness for growth to create major changes in their lives is incredibly inspiring. This week I asked everyone in the group to share a concrete result that they have gained since beginning yoga. One of the participants said “every morning I wake up to a new affirmation, awareness, acceptance and change“. This statement is the foundation for leading a joyous life.
Through the practice of yoga we cultivate consciousness and awareness so we can see what is actually happening in our lives. Then we must have radical acceptance for where we are at now in our lives in order to grow and change.
Yoga helps students heal from the inside out. It gives coping tools to stay through pain, urges, and cravings with patience, grace and tolerance. By focusing on what is actually happening in the moment and not attaching to the thoughts and emotions that come up, students learn to stay through great physical sensations in their bodies and trust that they are OK and learn to relax into the moment without reaction.
We are so blessed to have found the powerful tool of yoga to create more awareness in our lives. Through this awareness, we are capable of greater acceptance and therefore can continue to change and transform ourselves. It is through the awareness, acceptance, and change yoga gives each of us that we are able to create more joy to share with others around the world.
With many blessing and infinite joy to you and your loved ones!