This blog post was originally posted on Transformation Yoga Project's blog on May 9, 2016.
A few weeks ago, I participated in Transformation Yoga Project’s weekly Yoga for Recovery class at one of our community partner studios. There was a sense of anticipation as one of the local news organizations was coming to report on this class in order to provide exposure for our programs and tools to serve the recovery population. Nineteen people attended this class taught by an experienced and compassionate instructor (who also happens to be in recovery). After class, we sat down with the reporter to talk about how yoga provides invaluable insights and practical ways for supporting traditional recovery methods.
However, when I read the published article. I was surprised that it focused quite a bit on my background. You see, I spent nine months in prison. This is a fact, this is a part of my history, but it certainly doesn’t define who I am. When I read the article, I was a combination of mad, sad, and embarrassed by having a painful part of my life thrown out there. While our yoga practice teaches us to release the things that do not serve us, this is not always easy to do.
During class I often use the term ‘lean into our discomfort’ to help us face our fears head on. I hesitated posting this article on social media as I have a significant ‘discomfort’ about being categorized as a former prisoner. However, upon reflection, this is just another way to strengthen my practice by surrendering to what I can’t control.
Surrendering doesn’t mean giving up. It simply means acknowledging your situation and surrendering to the truth. It gives you the power to shed the burdens, fears and misconceptions that hold you back from living your true life. Your decision may fly in the face of conventional wisdom, but making choices that are true to your core values will allow you to surrender and live life authentically.
By surrendering to the discomfort of being defined and labeled by others, the worrying about what people think of me has started to fade. Surrendering to what I cannot change has helped me return to who I always thought I was and change the trajectory of my life. The transformational power of surrender is only one of many reasons why I happily and humbly choose yoga service... and all the discomfort and growth that comes with it.
This blog post was originally featured on Transformation Yoga Project's website. To learn more about the organization, go to transformationyogaproject.org.