Yes

 
 
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YES!

In July of 2007 I opened up the issue of Vanity Fair and saw an image of Sri Dharma Mittra doing a headstand with his arms by his sides. My brain couldn’t process what it saw, and I remember feeling puzzled and yet compelled. I wasn’t really sure what attracted me to yoga, but I couldn’t help but be drawn further and further. I was responding wholeheartedly to where it was calling me. I said “Yes!” I was staying with a friend when I read the issue on yoga, and by time I left my friend insisted I take the magazine with me. I paged through the article over and over, saying “Yes, yes, yes.”

Five years later I would finish up my teaching certification, not knowing where the path was leading me. I had never planned to teach, and yet life kept asking me to teach yoga. Throughout the years, I would see this image of Sri Dharma Mittra in a headstand, and think about it. In the past year, I’ve felt it calling me again. Recently, I surprised even myself when I was able to move my arms to the front in headstand.

Earlier in the year my daughter kept talking about New York City, and something nudged me to make arrangements. As I was planning the trip, I looked into yoga workshops and classes. Something prompted me to see where Sri Dharma Mittra was located, and imagine my surprise (not really) when I googled him, and found he has a center in Manhattan. As if this weren’t enough, I scrolled through his classes and workshops and I saw he is celebrating his birthday in the second week of May. I booked the workshop with him, and couldn’t believe the series of events that led me to find that workshop. It feels wonderful that 12 years after seeing that image on Vanity Fair, before I even knew who he was, that I’ll be meeting him and taking a workshop with him.

I think we all get these little nudges, these intuitions. Our job is to say YES, and then watch how life unfolds and moves you to the places where your heart sings.

 
 

Permission

“Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to succeed and achieve. Don’t wait for someone to tell you how to do it. Don’t wait for just the right situation. Don’t count on being lucky.

Your destiny is in your hands. Think like it and act like it with each passing moment.” – Rod Stryker, The Four Desires.

I had the good fortune of taking a workshop with Rod Stryker. I had read his book, The Four Desires, for about a year before I took his weekend workshop. In a sort of prayer, wish, thought combo I kept knowing I would take a class with him. At that point, Rod had workshops and classes all over the country, but the dates and travel just never worked out with my schedule. But, in my heart and mind, I KNEW I needed to meet him, and that I would. I said to myself, God, and the Universe, “I’m not able to travel to the places Rod is teaching. He needs to come to Wisconsin so I can take a class or workshop with him.” I kept repeating it so strongly and clearly. And, although Rod traveled extensively in the United States, and the world, he never came to Wisconsin to teach.

At this point, my students and fellow teachers had heard of Rod’s name. I spoke about his book a lot and led students through his guided meditations. Out of the blue a fellow yoga teacher emailed me. She received a newsletter from a Madison yoga center that Rod Stryker was coming for a weekend workshop. I couldn't believe it, and yet I could. I didn't even bother reading the content. I registered for the whole weekend.

When I went to the workshop there were easily over 400 people in the room, but I knew I’d speak with Rod. The workshop was just what I needed and towards the end of the second day, during a break, I spoke with him.

His book and his workshop reminded me of this:

-          Obstacles are not meant to overwhelm or discourage us, but rather inspire and motivate us!

-          We are meant to expand beautifully.

-          We determine our destiny.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get lazy and want others to direct me or tell me what my next steps should be. I think we probably all get like this at some point. We let someone else be the expert in our own lives. At some point, you start to listen to your inner wisdom and follow where it directs you. Lately, I have really been taking to heart the idea of giving yourself permission to grow, to achieve, to succeed. Ideally, we’d all have a group of mentors cheering us on, but it doesn’t always happen. I learn more and that as knowledgeable and experienced as others are, that don’t always have the magic answers. They can’t tell me what I need to hear. I’ve learned to dig deep, get still and center, and listen to that clear voice within. I become directed from within.

Examine what your reasons are for not acting, for not taking a next step. Afraid you don’t know how to do something? Afraid you’re not an “expert”? Waiting for someone to ask you to do it. Are you waiting for permission?

From a yoga perspective, it is a unique and wonderful privilege to be born as a human being. Make the most of the opportunities you create. The universe responds and expands when we follow our heart, when we are clear about what we want to do. Yogi Bhajan says, “I don’t count on miracles. I rely on them.”

What do you really want to do? What stops you from doing it? What are you waiting for?

I bring you back to Rod’s words:

“Don’t wait for someone to give you permission to succeed and achieve. Don’t wait for someone to tell you how to do it. Don’t wait for just the right situation. Don’t count on being lucky.

Your destiny is in your hands. Think like it and act like it with each passing moment.” – Rod Stryker, The Four Desires.

Many rich and beautiful blessings to each and every one of you!

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Photo Credit: Patrick Flood Photography, 2017.