Sharon Collaros ----Guest Blog
The day Taylor asked me to write about my experience with yoga I was so excited and proud that my practice became perfect material for a Saturday Night Live skit. I was a hot mess. My breath was erratic so I was distracted, my balance came to a screeching halt and my habitual recruitment of my trapezoids to act as bandhas reasserted itself. I wanted Taylor to see that he had made a good choice in asking me and there I was…in complete antithesis of what yoga truly is…striving for deeper forward bends, a perfectly executed balancing series and a bind in Marichyasana without the need for an adjustment. Such an embarrassing admission but true damn it! To summarize, I was on Planet Sharon’s Brain, all up in my head, and completely attached to an outward appearance/outcome. And so I laughed. I had to! For you see, one of the many reasons I practice yoga is to help me detach. Detach from my perceptions of my own limitations and strengths, detach from my notions of outward appearances and detachment from the habitual judgments of what I proclaim myself to be at any given time, and detachment from my need for validation. One of the many reasons I love Ganesh is he reminds me that the only obstacle in my path is me. So when my mind begins shouting “how long you been practicing, honey?” “for the love of God, Sharon, find your fricking bandhas!” or “where in the hell did your balance go today, sister?” or even “way to go, girl…you had a great practice!” I take myself out of the present moment and start judging and assessing rather than just doing. And then it’s no fun anymore. And I don’t like not having fun. And Lordy am I a tough judge. And I rather wither under such harsh scrutiny. So I go back to the tools…I breath. I breathe again. Increasingly drishti has new meaning and my Holy Grail of a quest to find my bandhas re-activates. And lo and behold! I am out of my head and the letting go begins anew.
I love studying and practicing with Taylor and all of my Morning Mysore friends! I believe deeply in the teacher/student relationship and I value the knowledge and lineage Taylor has going directly to K. Pattahbi Jois. I also value the lessons I have learned about myself on the mat more than any book knowledge I got from college and post-grad work. I have learned that my faith in God is true, my journey on the Eight Limbed path is sincere, and that I am much more strong, capable, smart and beautiful than I ever believed.
Yoga and the Eight Limbed Path is how I go about this quest of finding peace, finding my dharma and finding my true self. (Thanks Stephen Cope) I am more confident not because I can stand on my head, but because of the hard work and albeit not perfect…consistency of my practice. I feel smarter because the practice is intellectually stimulating and the body of written knowledge is so vast that I’ll never get to read everything I want. I feel more beautiful not because my body is more toned and supple, but because I see the seer and she is lovely.
Those who know me are aware that I smile and laugh easily, love people, connections, and have a big appetite for love. You may also know I am anxious as well. The grounding practice of the primary series is a physical, spiritual and emotional mantra to my sometimes-distracted mindbody. I now have more focus; more directed intentional energy and even more love because as I continue to grow as a yogi, my compassion for myself on the mat transfers to others off the mat.
Yoga is life. It’s about how we life right in a world. “It’s how we get together and become natural once again.” It’s about taking right steps and then watching what happens without preconceived notions of what it will look like. Life for me is easier with yoga. It just is. I’m not saying it’s easy. But it’s easier. Life is more joyful with yoga. It just is. And I feel the prana.
I am thankful for Taylor. He has patiently watched me and given adjustments, encouragement, philosophical questions to ponder and occasionally some well deserved shit. I am not an easy student. I respect him and dedicate this small essay to him.
Practice and all is coming!