Facing fear and fire…

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Following on from my last post I just wanted to share this photo – I love the way it embodies  the evening and my whole experience of facing my fear(s) and getting empowered.

(A big shout out to my fellow trainee Star Phoenix for letting me use this photo.)

To finish I’d like to leave you with this quote from my teacher Ana Forrest on ‘Stalking Fear’:

“The fear was there but it wasn’t unmanageable. I’d believed that in order to do what I was afraid of, I had to get rid of the fear first, but that turned out to be only an idea not the truth. You have to do something two hundred times before the fear will disappear. Are you still afraid of something? Just do it again. Do it again. Do it again. Maybe I couldn’t banish all my fears, but I made the choice to stop allowing them to rule my life.”

(Ana Forrest, Fierce Medicine)

So maybe it’s not what you fear, it’s what you do with the fear itself.

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Rebirth Reality Check

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As some of you already know, I’m in the process of undertaking a rather massive life change; leaving a career of 11 years and a country I’ve lived in for four, to move back to the UK to focus solely on my yoga. Some people have been shocked at this decision, many surprised, and a good few excited. For me though, it’s not really been a case of making some life changing decision, more that I finally suddenly had the enormous realisation that it’s time I started following my heart and not my head for once. And so I’ve quit my English teaching job, left Malaysia and over the next year will be participating in the Forrest Yoga Mentorship scheme, and working at a studio in Dundee (which, on the subject of following your heart, just so happens to called ‘Heart Space‘!)

In a recent conversation I found myself referring to my new adventure as a kind of ‘rebirth’. It’s funny how the words just popped put of my mouth; it wasn’t something I’d previously considered, yet the more I thought about it I realised how accurately this word describes the new stage in my life…. ………rebirth/to be re-born/ to start a new life…… Only thing is though, in order to do this there also needs to be a death…the passing of your current life. So, I realised a few weeks ago that whilst I’d done a great job of organising my new life (even down to finer details of booking train tickets!), I wasn’t really doing so well at moving away from my old one. Excited in anticipation of what’s to come, but clinging like a baby koala to the comfort of my familiar life. Something had to give….

You cannot live if you do not die psychologically every minute” Krishnamurti

Crap,yeah, he does kind of have a point…

In Forrest Yoga there’s a strong focus on evolving; taking the step(s) into becoming your truly authentic self, and this is what I hope I’m in the process of doing right now. But I guess what I’d forgotten is that in order to do this you have to just let go and embrace dancing with the unknown. In ‘Yoga and Psychotherapy’, a book I’ve recently read, the writers emphasize exactly this: authentic change really is a step into the unknown, and that the process of giving up your familiar (yet not fully authentic) life, and stepping into the unknown is actually like a death. For ultimately, in order to be reborn we must first die, and in order to die we must let go. This concept really resonated with me; enough to make me re-evaluate what I was doing to emotionally and mentally let go of the life I was preparing to leave. Of course there were still tears (saying goodbye is hard!), but I do feel that of the many times I’ve moved away from a place, this time it’s been easier to let go. As I’ve often said….”it’s time”.

So, I’m sure you’re wondering how the rebirth of Rosalind’s working out so far? To be honest, I kind feel like I’m in a chrysalis at the moment; still in process of transformation, and not sure how it’s going to all end up. But I have faith, and as we all know…. the caterpillar always becomes a butterfly 🙂 I’m looking forward to discovering my new wings (and teaching you yoga if you’re in Dundee!)

Sunrise at Doha airport – 5.45am today

Santosha: As simple as…

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“Santosat anuttamah sukha labhah”  (Yoga Sutras of Patanjali II:42)

 From contentment one gains supreme happiness

Finding pleasure – sounds so easy, but when it comes to the grind of daily life the reality of it can prove a little more challenging. On my recent Forrest training, we were taught about the importance of delighting your spirit and heart on a daily basis. It seems like a great thing to be asked to do as part of your TTC homework, but honestly speaking is something I struggle with. I get so caught up in what I think I’m supposed to be doing, feeling etc that ironically enough more often than not I forget about the most important person in this equation – myself! I recently realised that doing something delightful for my spirit doesn’t have to be (and quite frankly shouldn’t be!) a chore or a big deal; that maybe I just need to stop thinking so much about what this means, worrying about when I’ll have time for it etc and just go with the flow…

Recent example – last week on my day off rather than get up and do my yoga practice in the morning as usual, I decided to wait until late afternoon. At this point the sun was still shining, the temperature had cooled down, and I found myself on my mat gazing out of the window and wishing I had practised earlier so I could be outside enjoying it. As I moved through my warm up poses I suddenly realised that there really was an obviously simple solution to all this – get up, and get on my mat outside! I’m lucky that my condo has a lovely big green space in the middle; it’s been calling me and my practice for a while but I’ve always shied away from it, worrying about what my neighbours might think if they saw me. Last Friday though, this suddenly ceased to matter. As so I moved through my sun salutations and standing poses,  I had the warmth of the setting sun beaming down on my back, and the beauty of a rising 3/4 moon above me. I had fun playing around with handstands without worrying about which piece of furniture I might fall on top of, and held a freestanding forearm balance for a good 5 seconds before collapsing on the soft grassy cushion beneath me.Was it delightful? Absolutely! Did my neighbours stare at me – how the heck would I know – I was so wrapped up in my practice and a that lovely feeling of sheer contentment that I completely forgot to notice!

Lesson learned: Don’t overestimate what you need to do to find delight – the step to santosha really can be as simple as you’re willing to let it be.

Now…go and enjoy!

My new ‘yoga playground’ here in KL (monsoon rains permitting!!)