From Seed To Tree And Back Again.
My Journey Through Life And Yoga
As I write this, I can see the mature gums across the road, grounded, steady, silhouetted against the fast disappearing glow of sun. I’m watching the limbs and leaves as they sway in the evening breeze, my breath soft in the same rhythm. The feeling of effortlessness billows through me. Like the swaying of the wind, moving to a beat, letting myself move with seasons. I feel through the contrasting feelings of being stuck, rigid, going against the grain, trudging through mud and the plethora of human experience which lies pressed between pendulum ends. All these feelings are equal, necessary, like the system that is nature, working effortlessly, ebb and flow, come and go.
I think about life, that passes between inhale and exhale. Life, that is vibrant, cellular, and spectacular in self-defined lows and glories. Human love and conquer. Seeds and cicadas resting beneath the surface until the right conditions pull them above the earth with reason to bloom for a while, then back to soil. So too us humans with our screens, machines and fast living move back to soil. There is so much impact we have before we become re-cycled.
Just as a feathery flower seed sways suspended in a spider web, everything affects our lives. Moments and thoughts stay with us, suspended in our brain web. My journey to discovering yoga, as I see it, was like everything else: a dormant seed below surface, waiting for the right conditions to grow, to thrive.
From womb to now, a canvas tinged with trauma, unsteady homes, unsteady people and mental illness hung over my head. I took comfort in the usual numbing suspects: sleep, alcohol, drugs, anger and self-loathing. I held a lot of responsibility from a young age. The weight bared upon my shoulders had the power to unhinge my sanity and unpick my seams. I vibrated a hell of a lot lower. There was no melodic description that fit my life and I treated my body like a landfill site. I was disconnected.
At 21 I was at the bottom of the rabbit hole and I was sick of living. After realising university and my government job were not for me, I gave myself space. At 23 I saw a shamanic healer-counsellor that saved my life and still does. I began releasing the victim mode and began owning my story (I’m still working on it).
I found plant based living and then plant growing. I found that the more time my fingers spent under soil, the happier I was. I began gardening the shit out of my life. I weeded using slow, radical self-acceptance (still working on this, too). I watered myself: sweet saturation, seeping through the cracks, the drought was over.
I fertilised myself through meaningful travel and connection. I read, I wrote, I painted, I expressed myself. I came across a whole other world of people doing the same thing.
I found yoga.
I found a practice that opened my heart physically and emotionally, that alleviated the aches and pains. My body underwent an unravelling process as I let things go that no longer served me. I learned the slow-dance: asana, and progressed to understanding the dirty salsa, the head honcho: meditation. Wriggling around on my mat made me feel as euphoric as that feeling of being ten drinks deep - writhing my body to the heavy beat on a dance floor to the early morning hours, without the hangover and the lights hitting like a rude awakening when its time to go.
I paid more attention to what was going into my body and what words, thoughts, and feelings were coming out. I moved from going against the grain, feeling stuck, following a linear ‘do-the-hard-work-for-a-calculated-outcome’ living and succumbed to surrender, to flow, to what feels good.
It took two years of wanting to do a yoga teacher training, to do one. I thought about it. I told people. I thought I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have enough money. ‘I didn’t have an advanced yoga practice. I wasn’t good enough.’ I was scared.
The only thing I had was a vision. Of me, guiding people into themselves and the sound of my own voice leading others to move their bodies to access a sense of peace and empowerment. The vision came to me when I was on the mat, the feeling too strong to ignore. I felt capable. But just as strongly as the vision spoke to me, so did my overthinking…
“WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU DO THIS, YOUR DOWNWARD DOG IS PATHETIC, YOU CANT TOUCH YOUR TOES, YOU CAN’T DO THE SPLITS, YOU ARE TOTALLY INFLEXIBLE, YOU ABSOLUTELY CANNOT SPEAK IN PUBLIC!”…. Though I can proudly say I proved these thoughts wrong after completing my training this February.
Because I’m definitely doin’ the splits in a parallel universe and I’m totally living out the vision. I get to help people gain peace, and space, and hopefully a strong breath of courage along their healing journey. And it feels good. My ethos lies in healing ourselves to heal the earth because we are nature itself (if you didn’t catch that). Listen to the things that tug at your soul. These practices pave the way for life-long learning and I’m in it for the long haul, but that doesn’t stop me from sittin’ under big gum trees, waiting for enlightenment to find me. It happens right?
Til the next seed sprouts…
Leanna Mirenda is a wild child of nature sharing the experience of yoga with others living by the sea on the Central Coast. You can find her at @soul.landscape