I am just gonna come straight out and say it - camping and I are not one. It’s not that I don’t love nature – actually, I adore it, especially sleeping under a huge star filled sky as I do for a couple weeks sailing every summer- but rainy knolls, dirt, and muddy, likely snake and eel infested lakes to ‘shower’ in are not quite my thing. Funnily, this was precisely the setting for my teachings at the sold out 30,000 person Wilderness Festival this past weekend, and I had a blast.
There in my rainboots, stealing extra napkins from any refreshment stand to use as future toilet paper, I pushed the boundaries of what I consider to be “me,” and in doing so became more in tune with my current state of being. I danced in the rain, slept in a sleeping bag on the wet grass in the middle of the dance floor, and then went to work the next morning, energized and excited. Alongside Sian Sutherland of Mio Skincare, I taught on Positivity, Energy, and Creating True Happiness, led an I.AM.YOU. class on the main stage with her dressed as Elvis by my side (see pics, not kidding), and spoke on the extreme levels of wellness that have permeated our societies. When I was working, I was in my element entirely…. Even with my neon orange festival headdress and tattoos on… which made me remember that we can all be in the element anywhere, anytime, because of yoga.
Yoga, like the Wilderness Festival for me this past weekend, is meant to push our boundaries and take us to the wild side of who we really are. There, in that space between where we feel comfortable and where we actually are in that moment is where we discover our true selves and our true capabilities. Only when out of our comfort zone can we clearly see how dynamic our true nature is, and how naturally our inner dynamism exists.
If that isn’t a reason to jump on the mat, borrow a sleeping bag, or do something crazy, I don’t know what is.
There are two main components to your body, to YOU. There is the gross, physical, tangible body, on the outside, and the subtle, intangible, energetic body on the inside. In the philosophy of yoga I teach at I.AM.YOU., it is this intangible, light body that really matters. It is this body you cannot see or touch that determines who, and how, you are.
The Tibetan philosophy of yoga calls the thousands of interior energy channels that make up your subtle body winds. These winds determine the you of the moment and ultimately the true you. They are at the helm of your emotions, physical body, perspective, and life. The goal of yoga is to move all the winds from the thousands of short periphery channels that run left right up down and knotted across your inside body into the one main central channel, often referred to as the shashumna in Indian traditions, and uma in Tibetan. They say that when your winds become one unwavering in the central channel, you are healthy, strong, happy, successful, and in essence, gliding on top of the world. But when your winds are in the various side channels„ you are angry, ignorant, tired, upset, sick, and less than your ideal you.
This is not so dissimilar from a sailboat at sea. In order to sail, you need a boat with open sails, the tangible and physical, and wind, the intangible and energetic. If the sail is up and the winds are all over the place, coming from the north and east, then south and west, your boat will go no where. Worse, it will rock left and right, spin in circles, and clank and bang in the middle of the sea. It is unpleasant to the say the least, and often frightening. But if there is a strong, steady, centered wind, direct from one point to another, your boat will instantly glide across the sea, at a perfectly angled tilt, effortless, silent and smooth.
This intangible wind is the same for a sail boat and for you. Both need one wind, steady, strong and central. When you have it, at sea or in you, you can instantly feel a lightness and ease, just like you can instantly feel the sails pick up and boat glide smoothly across the sea. You feel healthy, happy, radiant, and strong. On the other hand, when your winds are trapped in the various side channels, you will likely clank and clunk through the day, or sea, upset, angry, sick, and stressed.
The key to sailing, the key to gliding, the key to living, is getting the right wind in the right place, the central place. That is what all of yoga is meant to do. Through a proper combination of breath, asana, and meditation, it is meant to move all the winds into the central channel of you. Yoga was not created to proved Cirque d’ Soleil with cast members. It was meant to help you create the best you you can be, from the inside, out, so that you can sail across the sea of your day, and life, effortlessly. So that you can sail into the true you.