Wendy Brown- Founder and yoga instructor
People seek yoga for a myriad of reasons: joint issues, lower-back pain, depression, anxiety; or perhaps to increase strength, improve balance, coordination and flexibility. I sought yoga for a far deeper reason…to find purpose in my life and rediscover myself. If we engaged in a very intimate conversation, I would tell you that I sought yoga to save myself.
Before I came to the practice, I was drowning in a combination of self-condemnation and hopelessness. I knew I had the power to create my life, but I didn’t know how. Self-help books and books written by what we would call ‘spiritual masters’ gave me hope, but it wasn’t until I began to actively take action–moving from the power of the thought to the power of action–that my life began to change. I can’t explain how yoga transforms a life, it just happens. If one becomes vulnerable to the practice, Yoga will transform the physical body, crack open the heart, and expand the awareness. To sum it up: yoga has taught me to accept myself; and through the accepting there is allowance; and through allowance…freedom.
Yoga is like a black salve. It draws out the darkness–exposing our shadows and our physical and emotional pains–so the light can shine brighter and healing can occur. It’s a beautiful journey and one I yearn for others to experience; and like all journeys, it takes time to change our programming: those habits of thinking and doing, and our habits of response.
We all want to be at the finish line. We all want to live in a state of joy, unconditional love, and peace. The problem is we resist the experience of what many call ‘the struggle,’ but what I have learned to call ‘opportunity.’ Physical and emotion pains want to be experienced and deeply felt so they can move through. This knowledge alone teaches me that the only way to the ‘finish line’ is through–not over, under, or around.
And so I say to you: come as you are. Every day is a different day on the mat, and that’s what makes it a journey. Without darkness we would not understand light; without sadness, how could we possibly fully comprehend the essence of joy. We are here in this dimension to experience; and I find yoga provides the gift of helping us connect with our bodies, our emotions, and our timeless and limitless essence.
I was trained by Anjali Sunita at Baltimore Yoga Village. I am grateful for the strong foundation in which that training provided, and the beautiful group of souls who took that journey with me. The training provided exposure to a variety of yoga disciplines and the foundations of the practice, which are vast and deep. Yoga is far reaching and ever-expanding. Amongst its wondrous depth and countless layers, I would say that at its core, yoga is about freedom and love. Yoga is about coming home to yourself.
After my training, I went inward. I hibernated a bit. I went into the virtual child’s pose and delved deeply inward to discover my unique approach to the practice. And when I had found my center, my voice, and my authentic approach, I brought it forward. There is no one way up the mountain. There are many approaches, many methods. Part of the journey is finding what works for your authentic self.
Throughout my training and my inward searching, I suffered from many injuries. At times these injuries were so overwhelming that I actually wondered if I was making a mistake in my pursuit. Eventually I found the pearl of that suffering: my injuries were a blessing because they taught me the vital importance of not only alignment in a pose, but how my ego can very much get in the way of my practice.
When you come to one of my classes, I invite you to ask for what you need, tell me how you’re feeling, and always honor your inner voice. You are your greatest guru.
Off the mat, I am pursuing a literary career. One day I will get these books published. Similar to yoga, writing gives me breath, it gives me hope, and it heals.
In closing, I wish you love and light, and an abundance of everything good.