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?

16 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 ( 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 ( here in Costa Rica.Thank for sharing

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