Aversion rocks on.

2 Jul

Yes, I’m back in the land of living. Life is settling into a new normal and I think I might just be able to squeeze in some blogging time again. So all 3 of you who are still reading – Thanks! Here we go again…

It’s fun to be a yoga studio owner. Sunday I had the fun of practicing at Cosmic Dog with a group of Forrest Practitioners. I provided the space, they let me be a fly on the wall and indulge my growing curiosity for Forrest Yoga. I got to hob-nob with two of my favorite teachers, Danelle and Colleen, Colleen being one of a tiny handful of Forrest Yoga mentors. 

I’m drawn to Forrest yoga for a few reasons. Number one being that the story of Ana Forrest is epic. I so want to read the book or see the movie. Nobody seems to have a complete story of Ana’s life, so Ana’s past has a way of morphing into urban legend or pure gossip. I’ve heard that she was sold into sexual slavery at the age of 3, that she was addicted to drugs and was bulemic. That different physical ailments left her severely restricted in the use of her body. Enter yoga, and through using different healing modalities, she conquered broken spirit, body and mind to be the amazing yogini that she is. LOVE the story. I have no idea if it’s true and don’t want to spread unfounded rumor, so just know that as far as I’m concerned, it’s just a story. I love it none-the-less, because I get it. I understand it, as does anybody who has birthed a new life after feeling broken in some way – that nothing was ever really broken.

I enjoy a good Forrest Yoga class for many reasons. First of all, the teachers are committed and dedicated. They know how to read a room and how to give a killer adjustment. I like some of the unique aspects of the style, the lengthening of the low back, the attention given to the neck, and the thoughtfulness and planning of the sequencing. I love whipping my abs into shape and the way those teachers make simple poses into so much more. My body like to talk to me, and that shows up when I practice the Forrest method. A lot of it basically, just really works.

As with any style of yoga, I am learning a lot about myself by exploring it. I enjoyed the class Sunday, my spine was really opened, and I loved the teachers. It was heartfelt and warm and I was thankful to be a part of it. The interesting part was that during class I just gave myself over to being in the process and learning what I could, and it felt great. About an hour after class though, I experienced intense aversion. 

Aversion in itself is interesting. I find it to be a great teacher and usually it’s like that little bell ringing for me to pay attention. Danger Laurie Gallagher – aversion approaching! So –  Sunday, I was struck with aversion to the idea that there could possibly be a “way” to do yoga. The Forrest teachers are very dedicated to their Forrest way of doing things. Part of me gets that devotion wholeheartedly, but part of me just struggles against it. For me, it seems that as different as we all are, we all need to find our own unique way of listening to our own bodies.

I grew up in this loving, warm, Mormon family. No, not perfectly functional, not always happy, but very warm, very consciencious and the warm extended family feeling in the Mormon culture really shaped my life. Not to go into too much detail, but over the years I was dedicated and devoted and a real believer as most Mormons are, that the gospel I was taught would answer all of life’s challenges. That there is one way to get to salvation and real happiness, and I was fortunate enough to have been taught it. I lived it whole-heartedly, I worked that system and I got a lot of benefit out of it over the years. I’m not here to dis my culture, but just to say that my own path has led me away from long-held Mormon beliefs. Over the past few years I’ve pretty much dismantled the majority of my long-held beliefs and held them up for closer observation. 

There’s a saying that says, “if you’re mind is too open, your brains will fall out”. I think that epitomizes the opposite of how I’m living now. The more open my mind, the more introspection I bring to life, the more peace I find, and the more truth seems to show up around me. I’m developing new beliefs and dropping old ones, but one of the beliefs that seems to keep proving itself to me in life is that there is no one way. There is no one way to be happy, no one way to parent, no one way to heaven, and certainly no one way to do yoga. Approaching life with this mind set has been healing, liberating and so much more fun. I learn something new every day. Specifically in my yoga practice – as in my spirituality – I don’t want anybody else’s voice going through my head telling me how to practice. I’m getting so much benefit out of listening to my own body and intuition, and that’s where this aversion comes from. I don’t want something coming in the middle of my own organic evolution. Because for once in my life, I’m really growing organically rather than mechanically. It feels really, really good.

So what can I learn from this aversion that is knocking on my door? There are some obvious lessons here, but a few more subtle ones? First of all, it’s not about what I experienced on Sunday during class, that’s for sure. My mind is trying to create a story using the Forrest yoga method to feed my ego a little meal of “There isn’t one way, don’t you know?” as a delicious meal. I’ve been through a lot lately, I’ve navigated a lot of other people’s attachments, needs and suggestions. I’ve done it all without a lot of drama. I think my ego is hungry for some drama.

So I guess I have to say today, go ahead aversion – ring that bell a little louder. I obviously need to hear it. That said, I can’t wait until Colleen brings her awesome Forrest class to the studio next month, I’ll be the first one unrolling my mat. And with any luck, my aversion will have organically morphed into a killer Urdhva Dhanurasana – Forrest style!

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