I teach yoga. But, this week, for the first time, I realised that’s not quite accurate as a job description.
This week, with my private clients, I spent a lot of time doing what I really do.
I help women get strong enough to move out of situations that are harming them and into a place of healing.
Why women only, you ask?
Well, the way I work is very internal and emotional: I just don’t have men coming to me wanting to do that kind of thing. They usually want to get stronger or more flexible or manage their stress. I do this too. Especially in my group classes at offices across Melbourne.
But, in my private sessions, at my retreats and workshops, and in my upcoming e-course, the work is focused on peeling back the layers of fear and defence, in body and mind, to get to the strong core (and yes, that means doing core work on the yoga mat too).
Once people are comfortable with, and connected to, their own power, they stop putting others first.
They stop making excuses for their self-harming behaviours. They stop allowing others to hurt them.
Not all harm is obvious. Sometimes, it’s subtle. Like working at a job you hate because you can’t see another option. Like staying in a marriage or friendship that is making you unhappy. Like taking care of others but not of yourself. LIke doing yoga in a way that damages your body.
This is how the cycle of healing, in a yoga context, goes:
First: you need to feel safe.
This is absolutely paramount because feeling happens in your body, and when those feelings are traumatic or uncomfortable, the first thing we humans do is retreat into our minds, where we can worry to our heart’s content and puzzle over why we’ve ended up with a headache. That’s why I so often work one-on-one and keep my retreat and workshop groups small. Intimacy and relationship build trust. Trust is the foundation of feeling safe to do the difficult work.
Then, you need to feel strong.
Here is where the asana part comes in: doing Warrior Pose, holding Plank, getting physically strong and connecting to your legs and your core build physical confidence and power. With those comes a sense of emotional strength, and more willingness to look into the shadows and see what they hold, knowing we are strong enough to deal with whatever we find.
Then, you build sovereignty.
Once your’ve looked at your ‘stuff’, it won’t be manipulating your decisions like a pushy back-seat driver anymore. You are free, at this point, to build healthy boundaries. To make clearer choices. To move out of those situations that are not right for you. And to defend your choices, if you need to. To understand that nobody else controls how you live, unless you let them.
This is what I do.
This week, I am going to be sharing tales from other women who do this in other ways. And from women who are getting safe, strong, and sovereign.