(Thanks for reading further.)
This weekend I took a mini-road trip to attend an out-of-town yoga workshop with a teacher I’ve been wanting to work with for a while. And because why not, I used this workshop as an excuse to take a mini-vacation, so right now I’m writing to you from an adorable coffee shop in the adorable town of Petaluma, CA. And because I was apparently extra-especially in the mood to get outside my box, I booked a room for tonight via Air B&B and I’m staying in the home of a sweet (and talented) artist named Debbie, and her husband Ron, and their golden retriever Puck.
(Dude, I know. I have no idea what got into me either.)
The thing about road trips is that you suddenly have time and space to think.
It’s you and the road and your soundtrack. And loads of time to reflect on your life. I realized today that a solo road trip can be a really valuable opportunity to pause, slow down, and listen to that inner voice that sometimes can’t be heard over the resounding sounds of “busy” that usually consume the air space.
And today my inner voice was speaking to me loud and clear, by way of my soundtrack.
With Katy Perry blasting in the background, I did a lot of thinking about what it means to “have a voice” and how the practice of teaching yoga is challenging me to find and express my unique personality.
Why is that, you ask? Well, people come to *your* class for a number of reasons — it’s at the day/time they prefer, it’s the style of yoga they prefer, etc. — but one of the reasons people choose to attend your class, is because they have some sort of connection with YOU. Who you are as a human being resonates with what they need in their practice right now.
Yet for many years I’ve focused on trying to answer the question “who do you want me to be?” and tried to avoid the reality of “this is who I am, whether you like it or not,” making it a real challenge to answer the who are you question, much less even consider letting that personality shine through when I’m in the spotlight.
Cue, the woo woo…
The workshop I attended yesterday was centered around the Chakras (energetic centers that bridge the gap between the physical and energetic parts of your body). At the end of our practice, the teacher led us through a Chakra Meditation where she asked us to tune in to an image for each Chakra. The image that sprung into my head for the Fifth Chakra — Vishuddha Chakra, the Throat Chakra, the Chakra associated with voice and self-expression — was “a dusty, dry western landscape where you could shout at the top of your lungs and no one could possibly hear you” (see image above).
Yeah. I know.
But what was so amazing about this experience was how empowering it felt.
Having an image to work with is already helpful (I bet after a gentle rain, that landscape would be more inviting!). And thinking about my struggles with voice in terms of the Chakras gives me all sorts of tangible techniques and practices to focus attention on bringing that Chakra more into alignment … asanas, bandhas, mudras, chanting, crystals. (It seriously could not get more woo woo than this.) And my teacher stressed the point that the image we see can change as we change, and our practice changes.
I can’t tell you exactly where this whole thing is headed because I have no idea, but I can tell you that *eventually* you’re gonna hear me ROAR.