I first met Skye in 2012 when she rocked up to one of my classes.. She had already been practicing yoga for a while and in fact had trained as a yoga teacher but had lost her connection to practice and it was through a mutual friend 'nagging' her to come to class that she decided to give me a try. It wasn't very long before she began to blossom, her practiced grew into what she needed. One of my most favourite memories of Skye was a few years back when she came to class and asked me if she could play her cello for me at the end of class. Up until that point, I didn't know she was an accomplished musician or that she had lost her music. It was the most beautiful thing to hear her play. I was profoundly moved and was so grateful for such a beautiful gift. Yoga had given her back something very important to her and I was honoured to have played the smallest role in that.
Meet Skye Myers
Skye is a school teacher, musician and trained yoga teacher (And I would love her to teach again at YogaHara - feel free to tell her that when you see her next).
How I found My Centre
For me Yoga is a voice telling me, when I slow down and listen, exactly what I need to hear. Something that I have come up against for many years in my practice of Yoga is that although it may be exactly what I need to hear it is often not what I want to hear. In fact, at certain particularly inelegant moments (and I mean inelegant in both a physical and emotional sense) it has in fact voiced the complete opposite of what I want to hear. But the flip side is that it has given me the tools to move through and grow when I have lessons that I need to learn, even though they’re hard and I am as petulant as a five-year-old that has had their favourite toy taken away throughout the process.
Thankfully, Yoga has been a generous and patient friend to have around. I wouldn’t say that I have returned the favor, but luckily Yoga has never held it against me. It has spoken to me through teachers that have altered the trajectory of my life and for whom I am immeasurably grateful. It has spoken through overwhelming joys and inspiring wonders, through intense pain and debilitating hurt. It has spoken to me through my family, my child, my work, my friends and through people and situations that challenge me. Yoga has been waiting to whisper to me every moment of my life. I knew that my practice had evolved when I found I was, more and more, paying attention.
Yoga began as an intensely physical practice for me. It gave me back a felt sense of my own body after many years of disconnecting from it. My first asanas brought physical space and quieted the cacophony rattling around in my head like no other thing I had encountered. My body was a terribly uncomfortable place to be after years of training as a Classical musician, two car accidents, countless ways I had been mindless in my treatment of it and a fundamental dislike of how it looked so profound I avoided connecting to my reflection. My head was an even more uncomfortable place.
With asana came quiet. A mindful awareness of how I move within my skin. Of the pull and play of my muscles in harmony with the utter joy of clear, full breath. My physical practice drew me in to the world of Yoga effortlessly, like slipping in to the warm waters of a flowing river and being cradled by the current. It was, and is, a delight to come back to my mat every time. I love to feel the physical tension unravel and the quiet stillness that settles in my mind as I yield to a spaciousness that makes room for peace. It gave me back music, it allowed me to move with ease and settled in me a sense of unerring gratitude for the amazing things my body can do along with a genuine desire to nurture it and to let go of the toxic notion that its only value lies in how it looks.
It is interesting to me that my physical practice has been much less regular over the past few years. I still do it, I still love it, but what I am now finding is the whispered voice of Yoga made clearer in asana is profoundly more important for me than the physical movement of asana itself. I would find it much harder to hear those deeper lessons if I had not used my physical practice to settle in to my body and quieten everything down. I’m inexpressibly grateful for the lessons I’ve learnt through my asana practice. But Yoga’s next gift to me has been moving me in to a quiet contemplation of my true nature with regular meditation.
Meditation is something I rarely do on my mat. I meditate when I walk, when I grocery shop, when I focus on a reading or play my Cello, when I weave and knit and laugh and sew. Meditation has been a process of finding the quiet space I realized existed through my asana in all the things I do in my life, so I can hear what I need to hear more clearly and reliably. Sometimes I am more successful than others at remembering this, but I am happily perfectly imperfect. This is a work in progress.
Through the contemplation of my true nature in meditation I have learnt lessons in humility, gratitude and compassion. For others as well as for myself. I have learnt the difference between how I think I should behave and how I feel I should behave and to grant much more gravity to the latter. In the last six months particularly, my meditative practice has been central to helping me navigate a diagnosis that, whilst not as terrible as many face, was frightening and confronting. It helped me to stay present in my life, with my family, friends, work and health management. It allowed me to create space from my fear and gave me the tools to see and accept that all I could control in my situation was the way I moved forward with my thinking. Without moving a muscle (figuratively speaking) Yoga and saved me again.
It goes without saying that every Yogi needs a guide. I have had many and I am immeasurably grateful for the lessons they have bestowed. It is important to me to honour all my teachers, and at this point to express my deep, profound and abiding gratitude to the wonderful teacher who currently guides me with humor, patience and grace every time I can manage to get to her studio. My connection to Yoga has become something infinitely rich and even more cherished under your care.
Yoga is bringing me closer to my true nature every time that I connect in to the quiet space I found through asana. In a lovely reading called ‘Why you should have a physicist speak at your funeral’ there is a line “the first law of thermodynamics; no energy is created in the universe and none is destroyed.” We have come from, are part of and go back to one and the same thing. In the introduction to ‘Yoga: The Essence of Life” Alix Johnson quotes Vivekananda, who says “If the wave subsides, the form vanishes in a moment, and yet the form was not a delusion… The whole universe, therefore, is, as it were, a peculiar form; the Absolute is that ocean while you and I, and suns and stars and everything else are various waves of that ocean… As soon as the wave goes, they vanish. As soon as the individual gives up his Maya [the illusion of an unconnected, independent existence] it vanishes for him and he becomes free.” Yoga is the voice in the midst of my wonderful, busy, challenging life that brought me to the understanding (and keeps reminding me when I forget) that at the moment I am a wave. But ultimately, I will return to the ocean. And I’m okay with that.
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