Healing Through Yoga
Yoga gets tossed around a lot as the answer.
Yoga for: pregnancy, stress, post-workout recovery time, flexibility, empowerment, anxiety … The list goes on. Yes. Yoga helps with all those things.
But yoga isn’t an answer.
It’s an opening.
An opening to self-discovery, to freedom. Something subtle happens when you keep going, you keep practicing. Maybe it’s linking your breath with movement, or that beautiful half moon pose might make you feel super confident, but what I’ve noticed is that there’s this place between breaths where my soul shines and I get to reconnect with it each time I hop on my mat. What’s more, is each time I practice those lines of communication to my soul, my center, become more and more clear- where I don’t need to be in the middle of a tree pose to connect in with that space. I’ve discovered that over time, while I’m in traffic, or part of a challenging interaction … I’m breathing, I’m balanced, I’m aware, and I’m ok. Sounds great right? Well, it didn’t start that way.
The first yoga class I took I didn’t enjoy, to say the least.
I suffered through it and felt so uncomfortable bringing awareness to my breath. Something I’d been ignoring for 25 years. It felt foreign and wrong. So I decided it wasn’t for me.
Cut to 2 years later, my daughter was born, I was experiencing intense postpartum anxiety. I was nursing and didn’t want to medicate so I started exploring other options and of course yoga crept back in on the radar. I rolled my eyes, and went along with it. Since I was at home with my daughter and struggling to even leave the house, I decided to try yoga online. My daughter motivated me, I wanted to get back on track for her, for us, for me. So I stuck with it. It took some time before physical shifts started happening, like, ‘oh, look, I can touch my toes!’ Or, ‘hey, I’m really twisted here.’ It felt good to see progress. Then I noticed how I felt like I was more alive. Less scattered. Connected. I started to understand and committed to continue caring for myself.
After a while, I started opening up places inside of me that I didn’t know needed opening.
Through each physical practice more awareness was invited in and more space for opening occurred.I became more available to being quiet with myself. I allowed my heart to talk to my mind and for my soul to have the opportunity to merge with my human self. While I may have not realized it was occurring then it’s clear to me now – I was opening.
I was allowing myself the opportunity to heal, to recalibrate, to accept, to work through hard things I’d been avoiding.
I found this place inside where I was able to get really honest with myself, and uncomfortably acknowledge all bullshit I’d been feeding myself. It bubbled up to the surface, and finally, I could get rid of it.
Living through my truth became a must. Being genuine. Clear. Unapologetically me.
Is this not how your yoga feels? Cool. It shouldn’t. But maybe aspects of it do.
Yoga is incredibly personal, but what I love is that we all come together under the same umbrella of growth. While we aren’t experiencing it identically, we’re doing our own work, and we can understand how that feels. Our own work makes empathy possible. Being a part of a community that supported my growth became crucial. Yoga… Union… at first it was a private thing but when I started to join public classes, share energy and feel another person’s growth next to me the volume turned up. Community amplified everything.
The place inside where I found my Truth, I realized we all have that place. Being human means we get easily distracted by the external world. We search for ease and security through experiences, through others, anything to numb-out. But really we carry the place of Truth within us.
Everything we’re searching for is available right there inside of us.
Yoga, helped me understand that I’m capable, I’m enough, I’m strong.
It took me from searching for fulfillment through others – feeling desperate for validity, competition, misunderstanding, confusion, denial, identification with my external world, being asleep at the wheel – to this place of, ohhhhh…. Yeah… this is it. Here I am. I’m ok.
Yoga provided the pause I needed to be truthful about what I was avoiding, and the courage to ask myself why, the strength to press through the hard work of facing it all and softness to experience this work through the lens of acceptance and trust. Peeling back decades of layers and the intimacy of feeling exposed around others didn’t scare me. But experiencing that level of intimacy and exposure with myself – THAT was scary. After many classes I was crying in those hip openers, or felt my anger pulse in a high crescent lunge. And then, there was the Yoga, reminding me to I shift into allowance.
Yoga introduced me to a beautiful space inside where I can let myself be human.
I allow this awareness to live with the bigger picture, the connection to Self, to others, the universe, god. But at the very same time, I can mess up. Big. I can make mistakes and that’s ok. I learned to give myself grace. Because just like your physical yoga asana practice, Yoga in life is also a practice. There isn’t a destination; just a dance. The flow is like a vinyasa practice; momentary pauses but really it’s just a bunch of transitions. It’s cool. Feel it, flow with it, be frustrated, thrilled, pissed, stale- be whatever you are and trust it’s where you’re supposed to be.
So today, at this point in my practice of life, I use the pause to allow myself to be whatever emotion or mood I feel with curiosity and no judgement. I’m willing to peel back those layers asking why. I set the stage with my physical body to receive answers. Move it, shake it up, settle it down, recalibrate, let the dust settle and listen. Feel.
I’m not scared of that place where I feel my breath and my blood, my heartbeat, my thoughts and emotions all collide together after 3 wheel poses.
Do you know that place? Where you feel that sense of aliveness in your whole body and you feel physically present, accepting of your emotions, clear in your mind, and connected to your spirit? That place is where your yoga actually begins – right at the moment when you want to escape or avoid or tune-out – that’s where it begins.
We never know what life will bring and for that, I’m secure in the knowing that I’ve got yoga in my back pocket as a tool for navigating turbulent waters.
Through adversity I know there’s growth; I know because I’ve lived it.
This journey, it’s not linear, it’s abstract.
It’s messy and beautiful.
Yoga for me is an opening to all that I am, to all that life is. It’s an understanding and realization that who I’m becoming is who I’ve always been. Now, I just have the lens to see her.
About Bailey Dawn:
After giving birth in 2013, Bailey turned to her yoga practice to help her manage postpartum anxiety. Seeing dramatic impacts with her emotional and mental health as well as physical body, she knew she had to share this with others. Bailey is a teacher who will always ensure that you feel welcome, grounded and safe to meet yourself, expand your practice. and challenge your boundaries. Bailey is a passionate, fun-loving outdoorsy nature lover who likes to let loose and remind others not to take life too seriously. She loves connecting with others and bringing people together, especially through yoga.
Check out the video below to get a peek into Bailey’s yoga adventures with her young daughter …