By Bec & Dean Schopen from the Manly Community
When we were asked to write about our yoga experiences, we instantly wanted to share, like a gift, with anyone who wanted to read it. However, then we realised to succinctly express what yoga has given us in a short article was surely going to leave us feeling short. So on reflection, we came up with just a few really simple words that resonate so deeply within us because of our yoga; breath, lightness, presence, truth and love.
We both came to Power Yoga five years ago; little did we know how much we were going to be in need of it. There were a lot of immediate benefits, such as weight loss, improved posture and infinitely better fitness. But then the not so obvious benefits started to surface as things in life got sad. Life was turned upside down when we lost some very dear people to us in quite a short space of time. It was like having your stomach punched and not being able to get your breath back. The gift of yoga gave us back that breath and the presence, to help us both with the multifaceted emotions we felt in our individual grief.
Whilst on my mat in the studio I cried myself rivers of love and sadness (especially in frog pose) guided by understanding teachers, Dean used yoga to draw from within, finding self-compassion that enabled a far more balanced approach to dealing with loss. Our journeys were very different, but in many ways were bound by similar philosophies and principles. The physical practice of yoga helped us in feeling more lightness, not only in our bodies but in our hearts too. This could only be accomplished by being opened to the practice and facing within our real truth.
All of the breath, lightness, presence, truth and love that we found have manifested itself in how we communicate, empathise, and relate to others. We both believe that the practice did not change us or take away our grief, it merely was an integral part of helping us to find within whom we truly are.
Yoga presents such a personal experience; if you do the work and listen carefully you will see and feel the subtleties, the shifts and the gifts it has to offer and the path forward will be full of joy and gratitude. We are however all works in progress, there is no destination, and life is to be lived in the heart of each moment.