Sometimes my strength scares me

The irony is I’m sitting on the floor of a yoga studio in which I own, and I haven’t been able to comfortably take a yoga class in almost a year.

It’s been four years since I was asked to leave a yoga teacher training. Prior to this, yoga was a  practice that, like for many of you, accepted me as I was, held me in my worst, pushed me to my best, and was a ground I could rely on.

A ground that would, in time, falter, collapse, and leave me with more questions.

It reminds me of a college professor’s quote that haunted me, “Believe in something, and question everything.”

When the ground of yoga shook under my feet, I had to question it. I couldn’t turn a blind eye. The yoga community, I learned, was not without fault lines.

Since this experience I have ridden the waves of feelings. I worked through abandonment. I have been avoided at the store by peers who sat shoulder to shoulder with me in the program.

Sometimes it made me angry. I wrote letters I never sent, to people who had no idea the deep despair and anger my feet rested on. I took up running to release anger in a way that felt healthy. I wept. And then anger. And the cycle, the tide continued. The waves kept coming, and I kept riding.  I received an apology a few years later, but the ground, it had already been shook.

I have dipped my toe back in several times, hoping it would take me back to the sweetness I found when I unrolled my mat. I would find that feeling for a few minutes, or a class, and then, like a sudden summer’s quiet after a storm, it would disappear.

In writing, part of my intention is a call for help. While I know, I am not alone and my support system has been crucial, I don’t think I’ve been explicit. The very thing that brought me to me, the practice of yoga,  it was poisoned and spit back out into a storm for me to sort through.

I need the community of 3 S I S T E R S, the community of Cleveland’s yoga world, the global connecting energetic field of yoga and all of its people to know, I was hurt by the community that built me up. And my strength of leaning into and investing in the very community that exposed me to some of the toughest lessons in my life, is still my teacher. And sometimes my strength is actually a pile of “I don’t want to get hurt again shit.”. Sometimes it’s really not strength, but fear. So, I have resisted it like a bat out of hell, and I can’t promise that I won’t feel a little cold in a moment, or phony in another, I still need you. Please invite me to your favorite class. Or instructor. Or let’s practice in a quiet place outdoors and just breathe. But, I need you to help me remember what it felt like to unroll my mat and meet myself without judgement. I think I am ready.