2015 was a tumultuous year for me. I spent February in India with my teacher, David Garrigues, which I am immensely grateful for. Turns out I needed that time to step away from “regular life”, step deeper into my practice, and get strong in preparation for what was to come. A year filled with tragedy and loss, pride and joy, and an inspiring new endeavor.
One thing that I think helped steady me for this year - TAPAS
What exactly is TAPAS? It is defined as discipline, fire, commitment to the study of the self, intensity enough to burn off the obstacles that keep us from seeing our true nature.
So yes, that has happened over the past few years - an intensity to my practice, and dedication - sometimes even when it doesn’t make sense or isn’t easy. Making the effort to travel to India to immerse in the practice and in teaching, and fitting in another trip to Germany to refine that learning, even in the midst of deep family drama and obligations - both sad and joyful.
It would seem as though this would be a time to let go of the practice a bit, back off, place it lower on my list, maybe give up practicing 3rd series for a time...but NO!! That is what has kept me inspired, engaged, and energized, so that I have a solid base with which to support those I care about.
It would seem that with all the challenges in the past year - losing my brother to suicide and settling his estate, watching my oldest son graduate High School and go off to college - it might not be the best time to open my own yoga school. I could have easily put it off until “things calmed down”. On the contrary, it has been invigorating, inspiring, and given me a full well from which to share what I have learned.
I was in Outer Banks, North Carolina in September for David’s annual In-Depth Study, and would be opening Ashtanga Yoga School of Raleigh the following week. I asked David for any final words of advice. He didn’t answer me then, but on the last day, after a week of intense study and practice, looked at me across the mysore room, and said
“Work harder” I didn’t know what he meant…”you asked for any final advice...that’s it...work harder...at all of it...teaching, practicing...all of it...” I started to cry.
What?! Work HARDER?! Isn’t that what I’ve been doing all year?! Busting my ass to make it all happen, and keep it all together?! “It’s so easy for you...” David said. What?! EASY?! I felt exhausted and raw, and unable to respond…
So I went home and opened AYS Raleigh, and wrote to David about a week later...I understood what he was saying. There is a lot of the practice that I am at ease with, and I’ve been teaching for a while, and have been apprenticing with David, so I feel at ease with much of that as well. I have probably the most supportive family and network of friends to help with the nuts and bolts of running a yoga school. So yes, there is room for me to up the ante, ask more of myself...work harder.
And that work over the past few months has made me more focused in practice and teaching, taken me closer to my authentic path, and rewarded me with strength and the warm feeling that I have had an accomplished year, rather than a rough one. I feel ready to take on more - bring it on 2016 :-)