I’d love to describe a little of why I began an interest in yoga. This has been/is a life experience of both beauty and desperation, mingling with inner turmoil, spiritual pilgrimage, and tidal waves of emotion. When I began writing this I mentioned the joy and ease I find through yoga, but, as I reflected on the journey of this blog, I was led further into my felt truth. Yoga is a great tool, but the practice has become fairly work-out themed in the West, and I feel there are many misconceptions about so many of our so-called spiritual paths. In a nutshell: yoga is a beautiful resource in my life, held by an ancient, wise lineage of our souls, holding our treasure box of collective experience. I feel the flowing rhythm and inner journey creates an empowering structure of support for moving through daily life. It feels like dropping into a warm pocket of earth, overflowing with reflection, meditation, coming to be with my infinite self. However, I regularly wrestle with understanding both yoga’s power, and surface-level irrelevancy – a weird paradox of both sides, holding a doorway through to something embodied! I have moved through some deeply supportive faith-based groups, and I view this like rolling down a hill: you move however gravity takes you, and accumulate colours, elements, sounds and feelings wherever you roll. I’ve found immense necessity to allow this movement, and to look beyond the layers of conformity and separation, and to behold the interweaving web of tapestry which holds all things together in their most elemental form. So, yoga, and breathing, dance, music, art and creative… together is a tool to help ease my senses into my inner & outer mingling of reality.
In a practical way, I’d like to share how intrinsic body-work has been and is to my sense of holistic well-being. I feel that this awareness of knowing and feeling from within my body speaks to all areas of my life; whether it be mental harmony, emotional stability, intuiting my spiritual self, or just generally feeling good and connected with my physical body.
I deeply honour my experienced modalities of yoga, and feel a calling to find union within them all, sometimes receiving from just one approach, or blending my current learning/discovery. As an astrologer, I understand my personal need to make space for the big part of me who has to break out of an older framework. I feel deep responsibility for tending towards the creation of something to serve all, no matter who we are, where we are at. This can mean I feel a bit confused about what I am ‘following’, how to be passionate about something, whilst at the same time feeling it collapsing within me! I was born during a balsamic moon, meaning: the very end of a karmic cycle, the dissolution and merging into a great unknown limbo, placed in the magical realm of deep, dark Scorpio. It sounds kind of cool, but it’s often extremely challenging. I wanted to share a little about where I am coming from, and perhaps you’ll understand my mini-exegesis 🙂
There are many lineages of yoga to receive and be enriched by: I first started, as I share below, with Hatha Yoga (though I had no idea it was called that) and then I enjoyed Hot (also Hatha) Yoga for a time when I was super cold over winter, and moved into Kundalini Yoga through a teacher I connected with. And this is the modality I trained in last year. Whilst training in this powerful technique, I began a nourishing practice in Womb Yoga, also locally. So I found myself balancing between two, what felt like, different ways: one quite active & stimulating, and the other very feminine and inwards (though both have their opposite aspects too). At the moment I am curiously delving into some introductory training in yoga for women’s health/menstrual wisdom. The picture is being painted with vibrant brush strokes in many little places, I’m enjoying the natural spiral, and gradually easing more into allowing flow; it is organic, unique and truly wild. Perhaps that is a reflection of me, of all of us!
And so, here’s a little tale:
When I was about 12 or 13 years old (possibly the time of the photo above) I noticed how much I struggled at school with feeling shy. This was something I processed through the whole of my schooling years: I felt so painfully shy that I could barely talk in class, and often when spoken to in group settings my heart palpitated wildly, my face blushed hotly, and I felt frozen in fear. Along with deeply painful self-esteem challenges and existential questioning, I developed an understanding that I needed to create a safe space for myself. I didn’t feel anyone understood my experience, nor perhaps was interested (though they likely may have been), and I felt quite alone sometimes.
I found little nuggets of joy; like rising early to sit with an inspiring book in the sunlight, journal writing, creating fictional stories & ethereal worlds, and one day I happened upon my Mum’s yoga video (you know…VHS?). So, I began to gather myself on my Mum’s bedroom carpet after school, in her room where the VHS player lived, and played this amazingly colourful and (now massively dated style!) routine of classical yoga postures. I found my breath regulated naturally, and I learnt how to work with my breathing to centre within my body, and to bring nourishing presence when I felt afraid. The video became a love of mine: I so enjoyed the explanation of poses, and the holistic portrayal of mind, soul and body. My challenges continued, but I often felt able to find even the tiniest speck of glowing safety within the temple of my body. One evening, whilst watching Midsummer Murders (classic TV series of the 2000’s – especially for grandparents), an elderly lady bent down and touched her toes, mentioning with delight how she had practiced this her entire life, and now has a beautifully supple relationship with her body. This brief, and unimportant moment in the episode’s plot, struck me deeply. I set a promise to take care of all of me; physical, emotional and spiritual, in balance and throughout my life.
There’s always more to a story, in brief: I forgot my joy of yoga when I moved away to University, and then later became part of evangelical church, where (among many things) I adopted a belief that yoga is most likely ‘evil’ i.e. not of the divine (*see below*). Some years later, during a year which led to the beginning of a harrowing unraveling of many of these beliefs, my inner knowing (that which is much more true to me) ignited more so. My friend, who was recovering post-nataly, and I, experimented with a little yoga on Youtube, and gradually yoga and I reunited, respectfully composting the ideas which no longer served, in service of an on-flowing journey. I continued in my spiritual devotions in a similar way, yet subtly acknowledging the change. It was exciting to have this new open door in my life: I loved Pilates too, and blended various practices together in the early morning. To support my running, I found that stretching and deep breathing helped to ease my hips, especially my right leg which had developed a painful sciatica.
A year or so later, I entered into a deep and dark night of the soul unlike any other I had previously known. Along my spiritual and quite emotional pilgrimage, my trail led me again through regular yoga moments, via the gift of Youtube videos by Boho Beautiful – who traveled the world with footage of the ocean and rich green foliage, and these images warmed me inside. Almost every day I could be found in our little bedroom where my partner and I were staying, tightly squished between the bed and chest of drawers, stretching out into a new, yet ancient space well-known to me. I believe that this regular commitment to my embodiment, alongside journal reflections, inner prayer of search and struggle, helped midwife me through this season. And where we later moved, geographically, became the locality where I connected with a nurturing spiritual & yoga community, and women’s circle ~ St Albans:
I love to approach yoga with soulful, spiritual heart! I am learning how to accept and include every little part of me, day by day, as I come together more and more. Yoga can feel like weaving back together the many fragments of the soul, spirit and body, torn apart or lost through generations, across multitudes of karmic and collective landscapes. It is really a courageous and daring adventure! All the challenges we face crop up; including the way we ‘want’ to ‘do’, and the natural way our innate sense can lead us. There is so much grace for all parts of this journey, every single wave or tsunami of emotion. It is truly an ocean of compassion, flowing with unending love. And it is our choice if we like to set sail, to trust… whatever we choose is endlessly honoured and met.
My adventures led me to Kundalini Yoga, where I was embraced by an expansive community of teachers and new friends. The year of training catapulted me in so many directions. I was stretched and pained in new, very physical and subtle emotional ways, like sand grating upon my skin! I encountered layers of myself, each time thinking: oh that’s who I am! Before it soon fell away, and for a new one to pop up and be observed. Now looking back, I see it as a metamorphosis of letting go. I am still in that process, and perhaps: aren’t we all? It is in this style that I completed this level of training, thinking I had the following year set out, 2020… but we all know how surprising that was. Things are not as they seem, especially at certain times when it really is about letting old fall away, such as bringing up old residual trauma to the surface for healing and restoration. The act of letting go allowed me to ride the change of not trying to pursue a certain path, though part of me felt safe in that. Instead, I found that I needed to let everything bob up and down in the winds of change. I discovered how good that felt, like a wild cauldron of alchemy!
Sprinklings of womb love ~ a deeper unfurling of ancient feminine practices, another layer of discovery, within the spiral of life’s labyrinth. I have little to say at present, other than a profoundly maternal invitation I feel extended out, a coming home to woman’s self, and the journey of feeling gently empowered to do so; to accept the deep knowings, the untameable ways, and the wild howl of primal being. A song and a dance, a call and soft hum… how we choose to respond is our choice to make, where there is no wrong nor right, no fast-track avoidance plan, but quite simply the map of a mysteriously enchanting world, found right within the body, through each trace of the skin, and pulse of our heart, we return. This is but the beginning! However we weave through the magic of Hatha, Kundalini, Hot, Womb, monkey yoga, running, dancing… All carry great and vast wisdom, of which I know just a small grain (not sure about monkey yoga?). What matters for me, is to come, even just a little willing, and to be in the mystery of unfolding, to be with one’s self, to truly choose: I am here with me, here in this moment, I am here.
Thank you so much for reading and sharing this reflection with me. I look forward to meeting again. With much love and gratitude to you on your path, and may it be, if you so like, winding, spiraling and totally mesmerising. If you’d like to join with me for yoga, I’m musing on creating a series of classes from January 2021, please see below for info – I would love to see you!
* Note from above * This is, of course, such a vast and sensitive topic, which needs to be honoured separately really: my journey of unraveling doctrine which no longer served me was not out of pain, but due to what I understand to be my soul’s evolution and progression through my life. This is a deep rabbit-trail in my personal, spiritual life, which in time I’d like to find more words for. In short, yoga tends to be viewed as unholy, within the communities I connected with, or at least quite separate from the western viewpoint: i.e. ‘it’s not as much about the body as it is about attaining spiritual right-standing with God’. I never felt good about this, and sometimes found myself at odds with leaders in church. I couldn’t set my body, and my sensual knowing, aside. And when I did, this led to grave consequences for my well-being. This is such an important topic to me, as it is very real and lived experience which has taught me a lot. None of this is to say the intentions of others were directly against the body, her intuitive senses, but a personal experience of underlying dogma, inherited from hundreds of years (passed down through lineages of male leaders where women’s voices became generally suppressed – something well documented). This was my deep perception, and so, this is what I bring to the context.
This past year I have practiced teaching Kundalini Yoga, and I loved it! I want to continue offering these sessions as I feel inspired in my practice ~ Starting again in January – Keep an eye out 🙂
I would also like to offer sessions mingling with Kundalini, flow & womb yoga; a blend of Kundalini practices, inspired to support flow of vital life force and strong navel centering, with flowing movements to bring ease and opening, from my current adventures in womb loving, deep feminine embrace. This feels like a journey, an unfolding, flowing, deeply joyful experience!
If you’d love to hear from me about this, please be in touch by email or follow my Instagram/Facebook or current site for updates.
Instagram & Twitter : @emelineyogastrology
Facebook : @empoweredblissyoga
I would also love to connect with local hubs in Hertfordshire, and teach alongside other yogis & yoginis ❤
Thank you for reading all this way ~ much love, Emeline