I have been thinking and discussing with friends lately how to define Kripalu Yoga. What I love about Kripalu Yoga which I learned in my teacher training is the inquiry based approach and openness which this brings. There is no set sequence I must follow as a teacher or practitioner, no rules of "teach this before that or else." We were encouraged to try things out, to experiment and make inquiries and see what shows up and make decisions based on what we found and felt. This was so freeing for me and I could feel myself physically relax when realizing this openness and freedom. It doesn't look one certain way. A posture doesn't look like this or that and it shows up differently in every body and isn't that wonderful! Kripalu Yoga is the yoga of compassion. It's not defined by a sequence of postures but of a way of existing and a way of feeling while practicing, however that practice shows up.
During the lighter moments of life I love this- the yoga of compassion. Of course! Of course I follow a path of yoga where compassion, kindness, tenderness leads the way. But then there are those darker moments, those shadow sides bubble to the surface and it seems like a joke that I could possibly follow a path of compassion because it seems so far far away when I am judging myself harshly. Julia Story- I am a shy introvert and can get so frustrated at times when I don't speak up or step away from opportunities. How hard is it to just open my mouth and speak!?!? Sometimes very painstakingly hard and this has always seemed up until this point something I had to work on and to change. It was not a part of myself that I honestly sent much love and tenderness and kindness because it can feel like this never ending barrier that will always block me and something that needs fixing. (Can you feel the kindness and hope attached to this introverted life?) And when we talk about being compassionate and loving the Self however it shows up it sometimes seems so so hard. How do I do that? How is that possible? How can I possibly accept and, ever more, love and feel kindness for this part of me that seems like such an obstacle and the wall blocking me from happiness and from personal growth? This part of me that seem like such a flow? How do I get out of my own way and make this leap to put myself out there?
Our practices on the mat can help us off the mat. That's what I love and what I believe. It's a practice and an experiment of "in this moment, in this container, can I do this so that I can call on the strength I find here, the peace I find here later when I'm not near a sticky mat?" Can you for just one breath, in one pose, accept what you are doing exactly as you're doing it? Instead of thoughts possibly going toward, "I'll work on this and then I'll be more flexible and then I'll be better" can you fully accept the pose and you in the pose exactly as it is? Even if nothing were ever to change about it? If you looked the same way and felt the same way and your flexibility never changed would it be the end of the world? If you never were able to reach your toes without bending your knees would it really really matter? Can you love how and who and what you are just for that one breath? And maybe next time it will be two breaths. Maybe three of utter acceptance. It has to start with a baby step of caring and of kindness. And then maybe just maybe it will come with you off the mat and one day you will notice that ache, that feeling of "i'm wrong and need to fix this" will no longer be there. Just one breath. One action. At a time. A practice has to start somewhere.
Love you as you for you. Regardless. And not regardless but because of EVERYTHING that you are. Relish in all the bits and pieces of stardust that make you up! Each piece makes up the unique and exquisite being that you are and no one sparkle is better than another. Let it all shine for you to enjoy!
love, courage, and cupcakes!