The last blog I wrote was at the start of January 2020 when I was taking off on my big life adventure. I had a one way ticket to Indonesia with the intent to explore, experience and deepen my yoga practice. I intended to create space for me to follow intuition and see where I would end up. Three months later we were in the height of a global pandemic. International travel was completely shut down and I took a repatriation flight home to the U.S. Who would have thought? Now six months into this year, I’m reflecting on all that has unfolded.
I remember a moment when I was meditating during the peak of the fear and uncertainty for me while in India and thinking, “What the hell?” Everything at the start of this year felt so right and so perfectly aligned. Why was my intuition off? Why is it that I finally mustered up the courage to change my life and travel abroad only to be forcefully blocked and sent back home? It took some in-depth soul sessions to realize, my intuition was not off, everything happened because I was meant to experience it. In the meditation I heard a loud and clear statement, “It’s not about the yoga.”
I’ve been back in the states since early April and have had time to sit with this. What I understand now is, life is not about the physical practice we call yoga, and it was not about studying yoga abroad or completing another Yoga Teacher Training or teaching yoga. It is about embodying everything we learn from our yoga practice in every moment of life, the best that we can.
I realized my yoga practice was not in the yoga postures but in the moments where I allowed myself to participate in the human experience with all the love I have in my heart. Where I could find compassion when another was in pain or with grief and uncertainty, especially in the midst of an epidemic. Where I responded with open connection and a smile while many were closing off in fear. It was allowing myself to cry and to be truly seen by others when I needed to be held. It was finding a peaceful state of mind in complete chaos. It was in my commitment to pursue something even though it didn’t turn out anything like I expected, and not being attached to the outcome.
I recognized my yoga practice in the moments where I chose to speak to a taxi driver or street vendor with the same kindness as I would a dear friend. It was in trusting a stranger in moments I experienced fear or doubt, having faith that humans are inherently good. Yoga was in the understanding that ultimately we are all one. It was in the way I connected to people who live different than me, look different than me and experience life different than I will ever be able to comprehend. It was in my willingness to learn about another and realizing just how incredible human beings truly are. Every encounter a blessing and a lesson.
Yoga was seeing large and lovely retreat spaces and also seeing women doing laundry in a river by a city street and looking at both scenes with child-like fascination. It was standing at the foot of a waterfall that shook the ground and finding a deep sense of peace and also standing in line at immigration, or in the heat of the day amidst traffic and coming to that same sense of peace. It was seeing wealth and poverty, kindness and ignorance, nature and waste and to learning to understand that it’s all perfect and it all has a place.
My yoga practice was in the words I used with others and how I spoke to myself. It was who I was alone and who I was when I was surrounded by others, who I was in front of an audience and who I was when I was listen. I saw where I had opportunity to grow and where I would still shy away in fear. I saw where I was triggered and where I held on to old beliefs. I experienced joy and doubt, beauty and heartbreak, connection and dissonance, abundance and longing. It was as if I experienced a lifetime in every moment, and the most incredible part was witnessing how I responded to life as it unfolded.
My practice was in the conversations I had about God. Those sublime moments when I listened to another speak of God with such reverence and deep and honest faith it would bring tears to my eyes and my heart felt such love I’ve never experienced before. It was in the subtle way I felt closer to God than ever before while also realizing that it still feels strange for me to speak of God after years of pushing the concept or idea of God away. It was so incredible to experience other cultures where God is so entwined into the very fabric of daily life there is no separation. To have those beautiful glimpses of God in every person, in every action, in every experience and even within myself.
All along it was “not about the yoga”. It was about this wildly beautiful and chaotic human experience we incarnate into so we can attend to our karma, experience love, compassion and kindness, offer selfless service and to remember the God in each and every one of us.
It’s taken three months of self-reflection to process all that I experienced abroad but I am now ready to share. I’ll be sharing more stories and pictures over the coming weeks. It helps me to remember, and perhaps they will be a delight for you as they were for me.
Love & [Fire] Light! 🔥
Brittany Nicole | Yoga Fire Flow