Cycles of Transformation

Pavones Yoga Center Emily B
Emily Brush is a PYC graduate and contributor to "The Salty Dog"

“If you haven’t got your health, then you haven’t got anything.” We’ve all heard this before, but I’m directly quoting the Princess Bride because it’s an awesome movie. Over the last few days I have deeply experienced the truth of this statement, and now that my journey has come to an end, I was reminded of a discussion during my yoga teacher training entitled “Navigating Life Cycles with Awareness”. I find comfort in my Pavones Yoga Center 200-Hour teacher training manual. I keep it out at all times, like my security blanket full of wisdom and support.

Welcome to my journey of personal transformation. When I first arrived in Santa Cruz everything was moving along just swimmingly, I was witnessing the normal flow of events and feeling positive about my choice. A couple weeks down the line, the stress and adjustment of the move began to show itself. I started to notice a distinct decline in my energy and general way of being. Constant headache and stomachache turned into fever and total body sensitivity. I found myself incapable of the simplest of actions or self-advancement of any kind. Affirmations are easy for me, like home base, so “I love and approve of myself” on repeat should be no problem right? I told myself “this is just in my head, I’m not really sick, stay positive, I can push through this, I don’t get sick.” Yet just lying on the floor and attempting to repeat an affirmation was a arduous task. My strategy was not working and my world was falling apart.

When it had been three days and I was unable to even complete a restorative yoga class, I was finally forced to surrender, admit there was something wrong with me and start taking my symptoms seriously. I needed repose.  I entered into the dark night of the soul and let go into the unknown. Time to ride the sickness wave of three days of sleep, coconut water and tea with nothing to do but listen to my body, my guiding force. And at last, I am sensing a return to normalcy, I am grateful to feel comfortable in my body again.

As I regained strength I began to integrate the experience and arrive at a new level of awareness. The lessons of my suffering have been revealed. Yoga every single day for 2 months, 3 days of feeling deathly ill and when I returned to my practice I actually felt like I was able to go deeper. As I laid out my mat, I had a sense of fear, I expected to be tight and out of shape. To my surprise, I was smooth, steady and poised. It’s like my body shut down and demanded a break by making me sick. During the withdrawal my yoga experience and knowledge was assimilated into my being on a new level. And I have even more gratitude for my ability to practice.

I am left with the final stage of the journey as I have evolved to a new level of being,  my new normal.  I realized that this cycle is just another version of what I described in a previous post about allowing myself permission to not attend every single class during the training. This is the macrocosm of the Pavones microcosm experience. I don’t have to practice yoga every day of my life in order to be a good student, teacher, person, yogi, athlete, spiritual seeker. I have to do what is right for me. I have to honor my body. I haven’t been appreciating her the way she deserves. So thank you body. I vow to take better care of you, nourish you with healthier eating, sleeping, and acting habits and to tell you I love you everyday. I love you body.


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