As a yoga instructor going through a breakup, feeling completely heartbroken, I was preaching poses and pranayama from the deepest depths of “rock bottom”.
This is the story of how the aching heart, vulnerability, shame and sadness of losing love, can reveal our most hidden gifts and support systems – how falling into the darkness enables us to pick our head up out of the sand and learn to look inside and access our strengths that we know are there.
What is renewal?
In our personal lives, many of us recommit to renewal time and time again, as we work to release old samskaras (mental and emotional patterns) and attachments to people, places and things that hold us back from our freedom; our true selves.
After the breakup, I was lost in the deep desire that he would fall back in love with me. Although I could stand in front of a room of 40 strangers and espouse words of inspiration and delight, deep down inside I was aching with pain, hatred and anger towards him and myself. Three weeks after the breakup and I still lived in his house, too uncertain and scared to start anew, to renew my life.
The Process of Renewal
I was reminded of an e-mail from a friend outlining the gifts of hitting rock bottom. The email included perspectives on this sharp place in our life, the pre-renewal space, and eloquently reminded me of the beauty of that beast. Like the phoenix rising from the ashes, something perfect can come out of nothing.
Rock bottom allows us to:
* Look within and gather sources of strength
* Trigger your will to take action and the ability to ask for help
* Accept things as they are and believe and trust that they will get better
* Come to a decision point
* See that the gift is in the whole journey, every moment of every day, every struggle, every moment of love.
How are you supposed to know how strong you are unless you have been tested?
After reading my friend’s email, I realised the potential for my seemingly hopeless self, and I started to align my class intentions and poses with what had happened in my day. During this emotionally unstable time, this was the only way I could be an authentic teacher– rather than cancelling class to weep, I chose to allow my pain and my inspiration be my fuel for teaching. Strangers want and often need to hear that they are not alone. That we all feel sadness and heartbreak, and we all have fear of letting go. This is where I found my renewal; this is how I was able to break free.
Yoga for Your Journey to Renewal
If you find yourself in a state of transition, itching to be renewed, allow your yoga practice to guide you. Yoga allows us to capture our inner strength by calming the mind, rebalancing the body and letting go of our attachments.
To truly embrace the power of yoga in your process of renewal, use supports. Now is the time to draw on these supportive props to take you into the deepest state of relaxation and renewal. My renewal yoga practice is a restorative one, focusing on opening the heart and easing the mind. Try these restorative poses, setting a calming ambience with soft music and candlelight to begin your journey to renewal.
* Paschimottasana (Seated forward bend)
* Supta badha konasana (bound angle pose)
* Supta Virasana (hero pose)
* Viparita Karani (legs up the wall)
* supported balasana (child’s pose)
* supported savasana (corpse pose)
A committed practice, an open heart and an open mind are the first steps to finding your renewal, just in time for spring.
Ashley Holly is a registered yoga therapist and grateful host of Bare All yoga retreats and Vision Flow workshops. She has an MA in International Relations and Certification in Project Management. Ashley has lived, worked, volunteered, written and practiced yoga in over ten countries, training with mentors from New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Peru, Miami and Canada. Her teaching style is energized by her life experience and passion for healing, helping and revolutionizing lives.
Ashley’s classes are dynamic, fun, and introspective, always leaving students sweaty, inspired and ready to achieve their goals. To learn more about Ashley visit www.yogayuda.com.