I surrendered to the urge and picked up my iPhone, again. 2.47am. Yup, another sleepless night for me, tossing and turning and stressing out about money.
Once dawn came I would be back on my mat with Asana. Meditating, chanting.
Over lunch I’d be reading about saints and sages, learning new stories to share with my students. And then the afternoon would be spent refreshing my anatomy Jnana and planning my sequences for the evening classes.
My Yogini lifestyle looked amazing… from the outside.
But I knew different.
I knew that my Anandamaya Kosha was hurting. There wasn’t much bliss left in my Yoga journey.
I was teaching. I was working hard. And I was running on empty, both in terms of Prana and my bank account.
This wasn’t what I became a Yoga teacher for!
This wasn’t why I spent 500 hours learning how to teach, and thousands more teaching.
To be awake – again – in the middle of the night actually contemplating returning to my soul-sucking corporate job!
Yet here I was.
Trying so hard at what I loved, but feeling shut out, like what I truly desired was out of my reach and being kept from me.
And I was hiding all this truth in my own Chaya, my shadow.
Looking back, this part of my Yoga teaching journey was my time exiled in the forest.
In Yoga, the forest represents the subconscious parts of ourselves, the more base parts of ourselves, the murky and unrefined parts.
The forest is where we go – metaphorically - when things get sticky. Confusing. When we doubt ourselves and our Dharma.
Perhaps you’ve had your own forest time? When you thought about going back to your old job. When you felt the shame of having ‘failed’ at our dream of being a Yoga teacher.
Maybe your forest wasn’t a money story. Maybe it’s a break up? A break down? Fear, mistrust, uncertainty?
(Flick me back an email. I'd love to hear from you.)
You’re not alone.
All of Yoga’s greats have had their own times banished to the forest. Forced into exile. Ram, Sita, Arjuna, Kali… they’ve been there, I’ve been there and I’m pretty sure you have, too.
And like all Yoga teachings, there is such Amrita, nectar, to be found in the forest… even though it might not seem like it at the time.
As Yoga teaches us, how can we know sunshine if we don’t know shadow? How can we know clarity if we don’t know doubt?
How can we understand light without experiencing darkness?
These Yogic teachings are true in both life and business.
Over the next ten days I’m going on a forest exile journey, exploring my favorite exile stories and myths and drawing insights for us to apply to our everyday lives.
I’d love you to join me on this journey.
Together we’ll play with:
Introspection and self-study, and how this influenced Sita’s choice to raise her sons in forest exile.
Humility, releasing the non-serving stories we tell ourselves, and how Bhima used his time in the forest to overcome his limiting beliefs.
Maintaining faith and asking for support when the burden feels too great, and how Yudhishtara kept his wise-men safe during their 13 years in exile.
What desire, infatuation and being unconventional have to teach us about service and commitment, and Siva and Vishnu’s naughty nights in the forest …
Finding true, lasting happiness even when times are tough and serving feels difficult, and Vyaghrapada’s unlikely gift from Siva.
Every second day of our forest exile journey you’ll receive an audio story from me sharing some of my favorite (and not always conventional!) stories from Yoga.
I’ll also send you some journaling prompts so you can explore your own interpretation and self-study on each of the stories and a Yoga Asana best suited for the particular lesson.
It's all free and you don't have to do ANYTHING to sign up.
You're IN already ;)
And when you share your insights and ah-ha’s along the road on Instagram, tagging me (@amyyogabizcoach) and using the hashtag #forestexile you’ll be in the running for some gorgeous Yoga Biz gifts.
Ana Forrest once told me Yoga was about turning our ‘sh!t into fertilizer’. Time in forest exile can be exactly that.
Not always easy.
Hardly ever planned.
And so, so rich for our own Sadhana and spiritual journey.
So whether you’re in the shadows or the light, in exile or in the world, I’d love you to join me on this forest exploration.
It’s all free and a celebration of #yoganerd –iness.
To begin to pack our bags for our forest journey, tune in to this week's podcast call.