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Stumbling up the path of yoga. Goa, January 2018.

I’m not sure if I could have been in more of a mess when I turned up to the first morning of my month of yoga teacher training at Sampoorna yoga in Goa.
I could dance around the point here to never truly land on it, but to put it bluntly, I have never disliked myself as much as I did on the lead up to getting on the plane to head off to begin the next chapter of my life, a chapter that once had been a fantastical fictional dream, a faraway glisten in my eye whenever I talked about it, a chapter I worked so bloody hard to save up for, a chapter that now, sadly, I wasn’t even sure I still wanted to begin to write.

It had been ten months of confidence bashing, if I’m again bluntly honest, mostly from myself, but the months before had shown me isolation and bullying in the workplace, a complete loss of self esteem, a destructive rumination habit (among other self-sabotage-mode-on methods), which ended a relationship with someone I truly loved- it was ultimately my fault, I knew it, he knew it, but I couldn’t stop it even though I would have given anything to. And that was just it, I kept trying to give something away that I didn’t really have in the first place.

It’s an odd thing to wake up in the morning and take a tablet to make you happy, to just make you more yourself, or more the person you once were but can’t really remember anymore, like a fuzzy, sepia-toned memory of someone a few summers back that you had one hell of a good time with. I re-watched a video of me taking a salsa lesson in Nicaragua while solo travelling across Central America 10 months earlier, my head thrown back in laughter, bare feet, moving to the rhythm from the inside out. I didn’t recognise the girl in the video. Who was I?!
I battled for days before I swallowed the first pill, every fibre in my being didn’t want to take a chemical that would adjust my brain unnaturally, bring me a false sense of peace. I felt ashamed, a dirty secret to my happiness – I had paid for it at the pharmacy.
But fortunately, or unfortunately, when you feel as bad as you do, you don’t really have the luxury to care too long about that. The pretending that I was happy was killing me more then what people may think about me taking anti-depressants, I couldn’t listen anymore, couldn’t hear, couldn’t see, couldn’t absorb, couldn’t enjoy. I was asleep.

A week before I was set to jet off to Goa and begin my training in Vinyasa flow & Ashtanga yoga, with my love set to join me out there at my graduation where we would travel together through India, I got the phone call. He wasn’t coming, and I wasn’t going to see him again.

I dragged my shit together in time to kiss goodbye to my grandmother, get up to London and visit my newborn nephew, before getting on the plane to embark on something I hoped would change my life. All of it undertaken by a physical shell that looked like a girl called Kimberley, who was about to turn 30, with dark hair and sensitive, sad eyes.

Sitting four days later in India in a circle bare foot on the floor with the girls that would soon become 29 of my new best friends, I said aloud that I didn’t have any expectations for the next month together, but that I hoped I would learn something. I had no idea !

The physical and mental practice, sunrise to sunset discipline, saluting the sun, saluting the moon, looking up, being upside down standing on your head or your hands, carrying your own weight, staring a stranger in the eye, devotion, physical movement, mental inquiry. Screaming your lungs out until your throat is raw, dancing, swimming in the sea and holding your breath underwater as the sun gets low on the horizon above, silencing your mind with your body so that you can just BE and not THINK, feeling every single muscle in your body, nourishing it in the best way you know how. Learning to really take care of yourself for the first time, spending 24hours in total silence, interacting with only a dog on a beach in this time(!), listening to your teachers speak of that same strange truth and feeling you always had deep in you, but couldn’t put into words, and being sure it wasn’t a coincidence you were all brought together when you were. Remembering the most important thing is love, above ANYTHING else, feeling so safe and peaceful you fall deep asleep in a room of 60 in silent meditation, crying your eyes out in silent meditation, in joy, in pain of finally letting everything catch up with you, and finally staying to listen to it. Dragging yourself out of bed to stand on your mat and practice in silence, in the pitch dark, with 29 other sets of eyes seeking the same things you do through the darkness.

During the last meditation hour of the month, as our final days of the beginning of the path were upon us, we were asked while sitting to pick two things to take with us, and two things that no longer served us and we wanted to throw away to the ocean, and leave behind. I made a promise to myself there and then that I would never, ever be as horrible to myself as I had been in recent months. Relieved tears came running out of closed eyes as I pledged to hang on tight to the peace and stillness I had found in this last month, and continue on my journey upwards, because my life depended on it. I had made one extra best friend.

It would be false for me to say that completing my yoga teacher training will change my life for the better forever, but in ways, it would also be completely true. You know when you don’t realise what you need until you randomly receive it, and when it arrives in your life you can’t imagine NOT knowing that that was exactly what you needed? That was this experience for me. The month was a true inquiry into me, a rare opportunity to stop and sit with myself, nowhere else to go, nowhere else to be, or no one else to pretend to be.
To some that may sound self absorbed, selfish even, and you’re right, it is, but where else could I possibly start then with myself? When everything else falls away, what do I have to give authentically to others if my own cup is empty? How do I share what I do not have? I have come to believe that all beings must first be selfish, to be unselfish. To love and enjoy ones own life so much that it overspills onto others, and you share in that joy, not join in the suffering. Onwards on the path, namaste ! X




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  1. Geneva says:

    That was so beautiful and so raw. To share something so personal with such authenticity is a rare treat. I feel elated for you that you have found your way back. Sending lots of positive vibes your way xxxx

    • kimiyeah says: (Author)

      I’ve just noticed this comment, apologies ! Thank you so much for taking the time to share that. Vibes greatly received, doubled, and shared back your way X

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