I still remember my very first yoga class. I heard that there were these classes you could go to where the room was really hot, it was a good workout, and I would get ripped super quick. I thought – why not! I definitely loved a good workout. I grabbed a buddy and off we went! Very quickly I got addicted to the sweat, movement and yoga high. I would schedule my days off around the classes I wanted to attend and got up at 5am to hit the 6am on days I worked. After a few months I started to experience more than just the physical benefits. I started to notice that I was changing on not only a physical but energetic level. The way I showed up to my life shifted. This practice stated to ripple into my thoughts, words and actions. Little did I know that first day I stepped onto that mat that my life would move from doing yoga to living yoga.
As a student of yoga, we are all sent down many paths, come to yoga for different reasons, and take from it what we are ready for at that time. Addressing the physical aspect of yoga, where many of us start, what works for one person may not work for another. I discovered that just as the seasons change, we too need to stay open to the innate wisdom within that our practice at times may need to shift as well.
My path has led me to being a student, teacher, studio owner, teacher trainer and mother all at the same time. This summer I was called to adjust my practice during pregnancy. My sweaty flows suddenly weren’t feeling like what I needed. Suddenly I had this craving to do more squats, dance, and meditate. Oh, and chant – I wanted to chant all day long. At first, I was resistant. Why was I no longer feeling aligned to a mat practice that I used to crave everyday? What was wrong? What if I lost all I had worked towards! But the truth behind all of that was every cell in my body was urging me to hold my energy inward. Slow down physically and spend more time in flow state. So, I surrendered. Then the thoughts came up again and I surrendered some more. I kept practicing this surrender and new way of practice.
Hello labour! There is nothing anyone could have told me, no book I could have read to truly prepare me for this moment. I went into labour at home and an hour and a half later my baby was in my arm.
OH! Now I get it. Now I see why I was called to practice this surrendering as that was my birthing experience. Birth “plan” gone. No time for the birth pool, essential oils, or birthing playlist. Baby was coming now fast and furious. I had to surrender and let go of all control completely. Trust my body, trust my breath, and trust my baby.
Now postpartum, I am currently experiencing how my practice has had to change. Yet again I was met with the dialogue of jumping back in to “where I was”. Yet I know that’s not the truth. I can’t go back. My body is different now – literally! The body goes through massive powerful shifts in pregnancy! So, I get out of my head, into my heart and down to my womb to listen. What does my teacher within tell me? What is the practice that will serve where I am at today?
Listening and trusting our bodies is something that many of us are disconnected from. The idea of feeling, listening, trusting and creating this new relationship may some practice.
As people our yoga paths are naturally different as we are naturally different. From Ashtanga to Yin, there’s something for everyone.
Go to a class that you have never attended before. What does your body say? How does your heart feel? If it doesn’t feel aligned try something else! If it does explore it for a bit and stay fluid. I invite you to stay open to receive the many gifts that yoga has to offer. Stay open and fluid, see what happens.
The physical body and the emotional body are not separate. They are connected. I believe that even if show up to the mat with physical intention, this practice holds space for us to connect to the spiritual, emotional, and energetic benefits as well. Our yoga practice if we remain open to it can go beyond our mat and into the rest of our lives!
Amber lives in Campbell River BC. Amber has owned Ocean Mountain Yoga in Campell River since November 2015. Beyond running the studio you can find Amber nurturing her son Leo, teaching drop in classes, workshops, retreats, and 200hr yoga alliance certified teacher trainings. Amber holds a 200hr hot yoga certification through Alberta Hot Yoga and a 500hr body intelligence certification through In Balance Yoga. In addition Amber has attended both Kundalini Yoga training and prenatal yoga training. Amber holds gratitude for each teacher she has learned from.