blog

May 16th, 2012

There And Back Again

by Eka Ekong

It’s 1998 for me. I know you’re looking at your calendar scratching your head. Yes, technically it is 2012, but sometimes we have to go backwards to move forward.

In the last 8 months, I’ve lost a parent and a grandparent, and have traveled the world to teach yoga. Though I had received an uppercut to the heart, I felt the need to keep moving, teaching, and exploring the frontiers outside of myself. I’ve been living the life of my dreams while enduring my worst nightmare. Now that I have finally been able to be still for more than 2 weeks in the same place (there really is no place like home), grief came rushing in like a tidal wave. I was swept up in the undertow, and left gasping for breath.

Humbly, I consider myself a dedicated yogi. I can quote the Sutras and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. I’ve studied the requisite books (and then some). I’m initiated into a lineage, and have a consistent meditation practice. What a lot of these books don’t tell you is that loss and sadness are isolating. Just as being a yogi can be. People speak in platitudes and clichés, ignore you all together (keeping a safe, emotional distance), or think that because you are a yogi, you must have it all figured out (if they only knew). In this big, beautiful yoga world you will find many a great article on how to open your heart chakra or perfect your inversions, but not much guidance on what to do when your heart is breaking.

I did the only thing I thought I could do, I withdrew. I went into my cave, ignoring my work, my loved ones, my life. My sadness and regrets weighing heavy on my heart, I cried for what felt like a lifetime. I contemplated quitting teaching and moving away. I felt frozen like Arjuna on the battlefield in his chariot. Do I run, or do I stay and fight?

Rather than being swallowed by it, I decided to sit with my shadow, exploring my inner landscape like a new world. The difference now was I couldn’t hop on an airplane to escape. I had to face my past. I had to love myself - warts and all.

Eventually, I unrolled my Manduka. Not solely in my home, as I had been already doing daily, but taking group classes around the city. Just as Arjuna had Krishna, I had my practice (and some really amazing and patient people in my life). Slowly I’ve been coming back into the world, embracing asana like I did in the early years on my mat. I’m remembering the passion I had for my teaching and my work (Yes, Manduka ambassadors, I am back).

I had to face what was behind and within me to begin to move onwards on my path. Sometimes, I still feel the pull to retreat into my cave, but it's walls aren’t as suffocating as before. I know that I will fumble and stumble as I navigate this new terrain, but in meeting my darkness, I am remembering my light once again.


My Manduka helps me practice hope. What does your Manduka help you practice?

6 Response(s) to There and Back Again

On May 16th, 2012 at 11:07 am, lisa roman said:

The humble Yogi finds life, oozing from within the pomegratate just as glorious as suffering in ones heart. be well my long legged roo.

On May 17th, 2012 at 9:56 pm, Anamaya Yoga Retreats said:

Yes,we are not defeated when we lose,we defeated when we quit. You really proved it Eka. A lot of people find their inner peace through working with Anamaya Yoga here in Costa Rica.Thank for sharing.

On May 17th, 2012 at 9:59 pm, Anamaya Yoga Retreats said:

Yes,we are not defeated when we lose,we defeated when we quit. You really proved it Eka. A lot of people find their inner peace through working with Anamaya Yoga (www.anamayaresort.com) here in Costa Rica.Thank for sharing.

On May 17th, 2012 at 10:01 pm, Anamaya Yoga said:

Yes,we are not defeated when we lose,we defeated when we quit. You really proved it Eka. A lot of people find their inner peace through working with Anamaya Yoga (www.anamayaresort.com) here in Costa Rica.Thank for sharing

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