We know this place exists within us but how can we accept and embrace it? Within the past 5 years I have been on a particular part of my journey that has shown me this darker side. Upon starting an advanced teacher training in 2015, I came face to face with many challenges that were buried within my subconscious. As I experienced meeting my darkness, I became alarmed by what I was carrying with me, years after a tragic life event. My body was holding everything I wasn’t able to express. Over the course of a year and half, I started to look, feel, embrace and slowly accept these scars, in Sanskrit called samskaras. After completing my training, I still continued to do the work, and instead of looking away, I looked inward and stayed there long enough to move through it. I learned how to overcome periods of grief; found acceptance and forgiveness; rebuilt my strength; and opened my heart and mind.
At the end of my yoga classes, I ask my students to embrace two teachings: (1) How can they accept both lightness and darkness in their lives, and (2) how can they create peace within themselves with the (peace) mantra, “Peace in my body, peace in my breath, peace in my mind and my thoughts, peace in my consciousness, peace always within my soul.” –Saul David Raye. This is a difficult task. My role as a teacher is to assist my students in discovering their own personal journey and guide them along the way by sharing teachings that they can interpret and apply into their daily lives.
Finding acceptance of the darkness in life can be very challenging, especially if we are not able to distinguish the light that each challenge presents. The unpredictability and stress of every day life makes it hard to navigate through challenges that arise and can make it even harder to overcome. Throughout my journey, this play between dark and light has been my greatest teacher and continues to teach me to hold space for the dark side and allow it to exist but not be consumed by it. At times, it can be consuming but I continue to find ways to bring myself back into the light by coming back into the present moment. I believe the lesson is to continue to work on accepting the dark side of life, finding a balance between both elements, and cultivating peace within ourselves and in all aspects of our lives.