Personal Journey: Behind the Scenes of Yoga Beyond the Mat

Personal Journey: Behind the Scenes of Yoga Beyond the Mat

From an early age, I wondered about the most profound questions of existence, but as an American girl from Colorado, I was raised almost entirely without any religion or spirituality, except for my grandmother’s wisdom:

God lives inside your heart.

I sought answers to the spiritual questions that burn within the human psyche, but I had to find them for myself. My search took me through a wide swath of religious and spiritual experiences (Colorado is a hotbed of Christianity and Buddhism, to name a couple).

In college, I unknowingly registered for a religions of Southeast Asia course at the same time I enrolled in a six-week yoga program based on the dare of a friend. I had resisted yoga because of my studies in physics, thinking that nonsense would be of no quantitative use to my emerging thyroid disorder.

Oh, how wrong I was.

Not knowing how linked the history of India and the traditions of Hinduism yoga were, I embarked on a learning process that brought me through the physical exercises (asanas) at the same time as I was learning the stories and spirituality behind the practices. This sparked a love affair with yoga and its spiritual accompaniments that would be the driving force behind my adult life. I was never quite satisfied.

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As a Western girl trying to fit into the Eastern mold, I spent years wearing bindis and claiming foreign gods for my own. While this satisfied me somewhat, there was a deeper connection I was seeking, and I wouldn’t find it until I wandered into my mythological and psychological studies—particularly studies that allowed me to delve into the unconscious.

Within our psyches is a vast reservoir of potential that remains untapped until we know how to unlock it.

Try as I might with the strict practices of yoga (daily asana and meditation to an austere and strenuous degree), I wasn’t happier and I wasn’t changing. When my studies and experiences led me toward the unconscious through various modalities, I knew I had stumbled upon something that modern yoga had not incorporated. My search expanded and deepened until I was able to round out the Eastern practices with concepts that would satisfy the Western mind.

After writing two books on the mythology of yoga, I knew well the untold power of myth on the psyche. I also knew it was time to bring this into practice, to create a personal mythology that would allow each of us as individuals to know ourselves, to integrate our psyche and soul, and to experience a level of wholeness and bliss that is more than possible:

It is our birthright.