Unconditional By: Cara Unrue
My husband has been practicing regularly for a few months now, and he keeps saying things like, “I’m sorry, I am just not having these profound internal experiences that all of you seem to have...”, and yes, there can be times of great emotional release, and self discovery. But more often, the yoga simply provides a feeling of unconditional love and support. No matter what condition you show up in, the yoga will support you through whatever you need. Now of course, this is essentially self love, which can be difficult for most people. Whether you’re dealing with addiction, mental illness, trauma, or simply showing up to live a healthier life, yoga will support you through all of it. I’ve suffered from major depression for my entire adult life, and I often experience periods of time that seem hopeless. This past month has been particularly difficult, and I’ve found it hard to make it through my practice. With whatever strength I could muster, I made it most days. Albeit difficult, showing up at the top of my mat was essentially giving myself a big, loving hug. The yoga held me through the roughest patches, and carried me through to the other side. Of course this isn’t magic or mysticism, this is simply a practice where in the darkest times, you are shown the strength that is still within yourself.
With all of that being said, studying yoga at Ashtanga Yoga Columbus provides all of those gifts, but with so much more. The system is set, and teachers guide you through each step of the way. This means more than giving instruction on postures. This is meeting someone face to face each day who begins to develop a deeper connection with the student. In practice, we reveal our true nature. There’s no faking, which means your yoga teachers can truly see where you are in practice and in life. And just like the yoga itself, the teachers support the students unconditionally. When you receive this type of support, it transcends the practice, and makes changes to who you are even off of the mat. Both the students and the teachers at AYC are entirely welcoming, and from the first day that you walk into the shala, you can feel that. Every person in the room is acknowledged, cared for, and accepted just as they are. This level of unwavering kindness is given to each student and teacher, regardless of age, race, financial situation, etc… there is a place everyone. Last week my teacher was having a hard time, so instead of teaching he came to his mat to practice along side of the students, being held up by the same immense kindness that he shows on a daily basis. And he was, of course, supported, unconditionally.
We live in a world that is wrought with hate, injustice, and fear. Often times the negative voices in our heads are louder than the positive ones. It is so very uplifting and heartwarming to not only take shelter on my mat, but to also have a group of people that hold that space for each other. True human kindness offered unconditionally to one and other. It’s truly unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.