Happy International Women’s Day one and all!
Almost exactly a year ago, just before the UK went into lockdown for the first time, I set out on a journey of personal discovery by taking part in my first silence course in the beautiful setting of Gaia House in Newton Abbot, Devon. Given the majority of the course was spent in silence (which could ironically drive many people out of their minds some say), my only hope was to last the distance. That alone would have been enough of a baby step towards Enlightenment for me. I figured that would count as my bit for nudging humanity closer toward world peace, especially in these challenging times.
Going into silence for 5 days re-combobulated my mind. I spent many hours each day sitting in profound silence among 40 adult strangers. It felt daunting yet liberating to be free from electronic devices. Many minutes were spent in mindful walking practice around the tranquil grounds in daylight and at night (which made me chuckle inwardly because of the parallels between a brain-dead zombie-shuffle and a mindful shuffle for onlookers). Then one afternoon, when I least expected it, I saw Mara, my inner critic according to Buddhist tradition, appear as a small girl in my mind’s eye squatting down playing with the stones in the garden. She seemed really sad. When I saw her as she really was, I just wanted to give her a hug. Seeing Mara without feeling afraid of her opened my heart. I eventually completed the course in time to go home as the country went into lockdown.
Living Your Dreams Requires Self-Compassion
Fast forward a year on. To my surprise and delight, I’ve managed to cultivate a regular daily meditation and yoga practice. Two things that I never thought possible. And since I like to think impossible and lucky things come in threes, during COVID, The School of Play has had a extension put in (both virtually and metaphorically) to celebrate life through creativity and yoga called Studio Tara! Studio Tara is dedicated to children and family yoga where children and families can explore play through yoga and creativity, online and in-person (when we’re able to again!).
The training to become a children’s yoga teacher is one of the most challenging, fulfilling, daunting and enjoyable experiences I’ve ever had. That’s because for me, it’s one of the true tests in showing up as yourself in service of others by being your whole self. Think proper Jedi training, complete with meditation “Baby Yoda” Grogu style.
In pursuing my life’s purpose to promote happier adulthood through lifelong play, I’ve made friends with 15 of the most compassionate and loving adults I’ve ever come across. Who would have thought children’s yoga teachers make up one of the play tribes I’ve been looking for? All this is thanks to Ayala Homossany, an inspirational and awe-inspiring yoga teacher because of her humanity whose life purpose is to empower children through creativity and yoga. Happy International Women’s Day for life!