Spirit In Transit: The Yoga Student & The Bardo

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Back in 2002, everything in my life was in flux. I had left a well-paying though boring job in Japan, a primary relationship was rockily ending, my sense of home-base was up in the air, even my identity felt fluid and uncertain. I often woke in the night, breathless with fear about my uncertain future, scared that a wrong choice would somehow forever screw up my life, paralyzed by the idea of failure. In the midst of all of this, and not quite knowing why, I began researching yoga teacher certification programs.

After about decade of teaching yoga teacher trainings, I’ve come to see that I was not alone in that experience. Many students come to Pavones Yoga Center in the midst of similar times of transition. This recurring synchronicity has me wondering: what is it about yoga in general, and perhaps the Pavones Yoga Center Multidimensional 200-hour yoga teacher training program in particular, that draws people who are in what the Tibetans call a bardo, or time of transition in their lives? What does yoga teach us about being in these uncertain and uncomfortable places and times? And what is the value of going through a time of transition, and of giving oneself over fully to the unknown?

When you are in this kind of open-ended dark night of the soul experience, it can feel as if you’re the only one in the world going through it. Today is about asking the questions and opening the internal conversation. In the days and weeks ahead I’ll be reflecting on the value of the bardo. In the meantime, know that you are not alone. Here’s a blessing from the Irish poet John O’Donohue that I recite to myself when uncertainty threatens to overwhelm:

“Allow your loneliness time to dissolve the shell of dross that had closed around you
Choose in this severe silence to hear the one true voice your rushed life fears.
Cradle yourself, like a child, learning to trust what emerges
So that gradually, you may come to know
That deep in that black hole…
You will find a mystical light which will illuminate in you
The glimmer of springtime”

From To Bless The Space Between Us by John O’Donohue

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