Back when I started my journey towards myself, I remember sitting on the porch and watching a spider doing its “thang”, weaving its web. I noticed how similar it was to the human mind. Out of nowhere, a thought would occur and weave a bunch of stories from itself. Then my mind trailed off to the day before to contemplate my adventure of horseback riding. I noticed another similarity, this time between the horse and myself.
Being the wise owl out of my group of friends, I had expected my horse to be the most zen, but this horse related to a very different aspect of me. This horse was wild at heart. It refused to follow anyone, and insisted on marching past the guides to lead. When it got the chance, it escaped its headgear and took off into traffic with me on top. That was my second time on a horse so you can imagine my terror. Yet, I knew this was meant to be because this experience was reflecting to me something about myself.
The horse had my complete sympathy. After all, who was I to tell it what to do? I had spent so many years trying to be a perfect horse myself (figuratively), and I no longer saw any benefit in it. I was in the process of shedding an image that I had worked so hard to create, because it was a false image of me. It was an image that made no one happy, least of all me. I no longer wanted to be enslaved to any society, religion, or culture. I was no longer willing to live to impress others. I was no longer on this planet to live a life that others wanted me to live. I wanted to own my life, my time, my likes, my dislikes, and my mistakes. Basically, I could relate to this horse and understood why he was shown to me.
Sitting on the porch, the picture became even more clear. I had been punishing, shaming, neglecting, denying, bullying, comparing, and criticizing my body. Now, I started to see that my body was also a wild horse that I had been trying to tame. What good was a tamed horse, when I could have a wild one with it’s own intelligence? Trying to break this horse was only breaking its spirit. Instead of trying to own the horse, I decided to honour it. I broke out of the mental conditioning us humans have that compels us to own everyone and everything in our paths. Thanks to this horse, I no longer saw my body as a resource for me to exploit. Instead, I started my journey of worshiping it.
This simple change in intention made an enormous difference in the direction my life progressed. As I dove into yoga, my single point of focus was to heal my relationship with my body. I wanted my body to trust me instead of fear me. Every day, my body shed more trauma and relaxed a little more. My sleep improved, my health improved, my strength improved, and most importantly, my intuition improved.
Now, when I’m facing a group of new yoga students, this is the simple change I hope to inspire in them. I feel that once you start seeing your body as an invaluable companion, you are less likely to quit halfway or be led astray. You will be gentle, curious, and determined. The journey itself becomes healing because you learn. When you learn, you know better, and when you know better, you do better. You no longer have to torture your body into sizes that don’t feel comfortable. You no longer feel the need to be accepted by another person, because you have already accepted yourself. You are able to say that you are working out for yourself. You are able to show up everyday to your practice because it’s no longer superficial, but a very personal, spiritual, and intentional prayer.