So I found myself a pool on the island of Ibiza. And with it came an avalanche of inspiration, relaxation, love, friendship, generosity, deep wisdom and pure joy. I had an incredible week on the island that for me felt magical. While many people seem to view Ibiza as a party-island, I experienced the exact opposite. There is an energy on Ibiza that I rarely have felt anywhere else. I’m sure I will return, as the pull to it almost feels magnetic. This also has to do with my dear friend who invited me to her home. I have only known her for about a year but rarely in my life do I meet new people to whom I feel so deeply connected. Being with my friend feels like coming home, I can’t describe it in a better way.
One of the most profound experiences I had on the island was the day when my friend took me to her yoga-class. And believe me, I was NOT looking forward to that, which I also told her. Yoga quite frankly pisses me off, I said. Because up to that point, it really had! Practising yoga made me absolutely furious and it had to do with one simple thing and that’s this:
Whenever someone tells me in which (often extremely uncomfortable) pose I have to bend my body and then on top of that also dictates to me when I have to breathe in and when I have to breathe out, something just snaps inside me. I have a loud voice inside me that then absolutely screams:
Do. Not. Tell. Me. What. To. Do!
It’s so strong, this voice and the whole feeling connected to it. So naturally I have looked at that inside myself. However since this don’t tell me what to do-feeling just is a strong thing I have (and probably always will have) in my whole being, I have for years avoided yoga for that reason.
There’s one more reason why I haven’t been so keen on becoming part of the yoga-scene and that has to do with spiritual bypassing. This is a term first coined by psychologist John Welwood in 1984 and means the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings and unresolved wounds. Robert Augustus Masters writes in his book Spiritual Bypassing: When Spirituality Disconnects Us From What Really Matters:
When we are immersed in spiritual bypassing, we like the light but not the heat. (…) But if we really want the light, we cannot afford to flee the heat. And being with the fire’s heat doesn’t just mean sitting with the difficult stuff in (yoga and) meditation, but also going into it, trekking to its core, facing and entering and getting intimate with whatever is there, however scary or traumatic or sad or raw.
I feel that a lot of people (unconsciously) use the practise of yoga for spiritual bypassing. Of course I don’t have any evidence of this, it’s just an intuitive feeling I have. I feel that yoga easily can be made into a lifestyle which from the outside looks very tranquil and perfect but where people in fact do not want to (or dare to) go to and through the above mentioned heat which according to me is such a vital part of life and living. It therefore easily makes me uncomfortable to be around people in certain yoga-scenes whom I feel often are not real but instead use yoga as yet another mask in life.
But there I found myself the other day, on a beautiful island, with my friend who so gently and cleverly (there’s a café on the corner darling, so if you get angry you just go and get a coffee) took me to her yoga-class anyway. I was given a place close to the yoga teacher and decided to surrender to the experience. I kept in contact with the teacher and she very lovingly and skilfully guided me through her class.
After 1.5 hours (that honestly felt like 20 minutes) I ended the yoga class in tears. The word that came to me was gratefulness. Because through yin yoga, I finally found a way to deeply connect and communicate with my body and my being in a way that I have not experienced before. I went through so many layers inside myself during this class, it was such a profound experience for me. I felt my body thanking me for taking care of it by stretching and going into deep meditation. And: no one told me when I had to breathe in and out (!). It was enough to just breathe through my nose and feel prana, life energy.
Back home in Sweden I have googled places that offer yin yoga-classes in my neighbourhood and will try them all. Hopefully I find a class with a teacher as wonderful as the one I was fortunate to meet on Ibiza.
Robert Augustus Masters wrote:
Ego says: I am what I think I am.
Soul says: I am more than I can imagine.
Spirit says: I am.
The practise of yin yoga has brought me closer to my soul and spirit and for that I am deeply grateful. So, to my friend and her yoga-teacher (you know who you are): Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!
Photo: Januprasad – unsplash.com