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Self-Reflection (Catharsis)

From an assignment for Yoga Union's Advanced Yoga Therapeutics Training

I am working. I know this is not what you mean by asking “What is working?” but this is

what I feel. I am working very hard, every day, to see the whole person in front of me.

Not only in my practice sessions but at the grocery store, at the DMV, on the bus. I am

working and I am enjoying working; I am enlivened by it. I am inspired by it. With every

day that we sink deeper into dystopia, I am feeling more and more the need for this

work, again not just in my “business” practice but in every interaction, every day. The

need for full and easeful breath. For strength in the core of our being, the stability to

stand up for what we truly believe in. The stability to stand up at all. Clearly the world

has changed around us since beginning this training. It has left me feeling limp and

broken for months. When depression envelopes me, my self care practices fall away, I

stop eating well or consciously or even at all, I begin to abuse my body. And this started

to happen recently.

But here is what has landed: how damned important it is that we practice what we teach.

During a particularly dark night of disassociation, someone I love told me they were

frightened of me, of my energy. And I realized that this is not what I was placed on this

earth to do, to succumb to my own darkness, the darkness of the world. I know in my

heart that I am here to help, to heal; and that has to begin with myself. So I went back to

the beginning, to my breath. To feeling my feet on the earth. I came back to my body

with remembering to walk with beauty. I started loving my body again with self-massage

(particularly with the coregeous ball). And like a plant frosted over with ice, I began to

melt. I began to make eye contact again. I could be around strangers again, the panic

attacks lessened. I started leaving my apartment for fun again. None of this is separate

from the physical work we do in these therapeutic sessions either. I had to learn (and will

continue to learn) to not depend on the metaphorical dowels in life, not to let them hold

me up, but to use them as a practice tool to feel and develop my own inner stability and

strength.

Which bring me to what continues to motivate me: that we do not have to resign to living

life in pain, physical or emotional. That these practices just really work, and can be

applied to so many different afflictions, because it is not me as a practitioner doing the

healing, but the client finding the healing within themselves. That before bed, my

chronically anxious boyfriend does three-dimensional breathing. That when I went home

for Christmas, my parents had the tune up and coregeous balls out and accessible, and

not tucked away in a closet. That my friends carry and pick things up differently. More

than anything what motivates me is that there is such profound change with these

sessions and practices over time that it has re-inspired myself and the people I have

worked with to have an honest and compassionate relationship with their bodies. I am

motivated by the fact that the people around me are in less pain, even if it’s only a little

bit, even if it’s a gradual process. In my manifesto, I write, “And if my connection to even

one other human being can help them find peace, then I will know I have found mine.” I

will continue to stand and fight for and support those who need it, and continue to try and

remember that in order to help others, I have to help myself too.

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​© 2020 ANNA MITRA YOGA

PORTLAND, OR