Dharma Series: Discovering Your Truth
By: Tahlia Rubin
Since returning from the Kula Collective 200 hr YTT in Mexico, I have continued to seek, learn, grow, teach and change. I am grateful EVERYDAY for the inspiration Kula fuels me with and the path it has inspired.
The week I returned from Mexico, I starting leading yoga. I began by teaching a weekly 50+ (age) Active yoga class at my mom’s studio and also a free, community class at my gym with the vision of accessible yoga for families, friends, and fun. My mom was one of Spokane, Washington’s first yoga teachers and is something of a legend throughout town. Her studio, Harmony Yoga, has a high reputation. Although I have been in teaching roles most of my teen and adult life, fear of failure and fear of judgment initially pervaded my teaching at Harmony. I felt I had “big shoes to fill” and students, as well as my mom, would have very high expectations of me. I also felt “ageist” and lack beliefs brewing; I felt I had nothing to offer people who had walked this earth longer than me.
Whether these assumptions were true or not makes no difference. My Higher Self reminds me that I am ME. I was created and placed in this incarnation for a reason. I am supported. Everyone learns from each experience and opportunity that arises weather positive or negative (quote on quote).
I have fought battles of self-confidence, individuality, humility and integrity time and time again, thinking I have won and eradicated comparison, jealousy and fear. In the past, these feelings seemed to cycle throughout my life as I played them out on an endless loop. With my awakening, this loop has bloomed into a beautiful spiral of change. I feel much more fully ME. I view the human experience as a series of rich lessons and as blessings fueling personal and collective growth; sometimes, however, learning feels soooo difficult.
I never told Mom I was nervous, or that a part of me dreaded each class I taught. She must have known as she observed me prepping for classes; rooting for me as I spent hours at my mat developing sequences and researching themes. Noting and checking my self-created fear and judgment, I walked into the studio practicing non-attachment, present moment focus, and grounding, progressing in skills and my understanding of Self as the weeks passed.
Throughout my life I have adopted the archetype of Silent Warrior, stepping into any challenge while avoiding showing “weakness” at any cost. Yoga teaching has illuminated this dynamic and my perfectionist tendencies rooted in fears of being judged for not knowing everything, for not being liked or for being perceived as “weird”. Ultimately, these fears sketch a pattern of struggling with self-acceptance and fighting my true nature in an attempt to be someone other than myself.
It's easy to play the psychological game, “Where Did These Traits Come From?” and frame myself as a victim of my past, but I have learned that the root of these patterns doesn’t really matter, what matters is letting go with love and humility. What matters is making room for my soul and my truth to shine forth. I release a little more each day as my soul embodies me and fills me with love and patience. This is not always an easy path to walk. Chop wood, carry water, each day. I wake up, drink heart-opening cacao, spread oracle cards, meditate, practice reiki and educate myself. I choose to feel and connect with my Truth and my soul; some days this means lying on floor doing nothing. My intention to live in truth has manifested numerous helpers and “signs” that continually support and guide me if I am receptive to their messages.
A few months into yoga teaching, Mom attended one of my classes and gave me excellent feedforward. She told me that I wasn’t using MY voice when I led practice. I had noticed the changes in my voice and demeanor when I taught, thinking I sounded more confident, calm, and wise; I had not labeled this action as inauthentic. Her input was not well received by my ego. I felt the heat of anger rising in me. Yet, her statement resonated with my deep truth and as part of a larger theme Spirit was guiding me through. I breathed into the discomfort and thanked her and Spirit.
I find that Spirit teaches through providing subtle signs. When I do not recognize or follow these signs, they compound and/or become less subtle until I acknowledge their lessons. A few days prior to this conversation, I began experiencing unexplained pains and tightness in my jaw. One of my mentors “dreamt” about this pain before I had even mentioned it to her (talk about connected). I also began drawing the same themed Oracle Cards (from various Collette Baron-Reid decks) consistently highlighting communication: “The Crow”, “Truth Be Told”, “Wild Woman”. These cards weave together the larger theme of LIVING truth; speaking, walking, thinking, being Truth. With the assistance of mentors, tools I learned, and knowledge of the Chakra system, I realized my jaw pain was linked to an energy imbalance in my throat chakra; the expression center. These compounded messages helped me examine my expression patterns and step into my own Truth.
Working diligently at Harmony Yoga to examine how these patterns impacted my expression of Truth, I found that my volunteer hours at the gym brought me more freedom and joy then the paid classes I taught. I felt able to express myself creatively and experiment with various techniques of teaching. I experienced less fear of judgment and enjoyed creating flows in the moment. “I” really shined through during these classes. Over the weeks I began to develop and embrace my uniqueness, my personal flavor…..my Tahlianess that I was born into the world, spent years unlearning and am now reconnecting with. I’ve uncovered my current passion to lead yoga classes that are infused with spiritual teachings, connecting with soul, with earth and with heart.
My preferred class structure is taught in a circle with an alter in the center. Each class I bring a variety of oracle cards, crystals, and essential oils that are connected with the theme. For instance I did a Lunar Eclipse class where I guided students to feel the differing energies of the sun, moon, and earth. I brought Goddess Cards for each student to reflect on a quality of Yin (the divine feminine)/lunar energy that they possess. The alter had a candle (sun), rocks (earth), and quartz crystals (moon) lined up to depict the eclipse. Class was composed of three energetic “sections”: a slow, heart-opening flow with moon salutation to depict lunar energy; grounding, earth poses (Mountain, Child’s Pose etc.), for earth energy; yang sequences with sun salutations and heat building poses, for solar energy.
As I embrace my creativity and unique style, I notice that some students do not return to my classes and others come each week, expressing their gratitude and love for the guidance. My ego still struggles with the desire to tweak and sensor myself so that every student “LOVES ME”. What I’ve learned intellectually and am actively working on trusting is that everyone is different; some people are attracted to my style, some people are not. It’s ok. We are all guided on a unique journey. The people who will learn with me, who want to travel with me, will be guided to me. Although this is my truth, my ego still struggles to let go of “perfection conditioning”.
The first few months of my yoga teaching journey have led me deeper into understanding and living my Truth. I am currently leading yoga intuitively, allowing my energy to mix with the energy of the collective’s and to flow with me and through me. Being present in yoga classes feels peaceful for my soul and aligned with the highest good of all. What a relief from where I found myself a few “short” months ago, living in struggle. I am exploring and combining healing modalities (reiki, sound, storytelling, meditation) with asana classes to express my uniqueness and deliver yoga medicine to the world. I am grateful for the profound growth, clarity, and peace this journey continues to provide. I don’t feel awesome and confident every day, but more often than not I live from my center.
A larger vision of “yoga” (union) and dharma has sprouted from within. What will emerge is unclear. At present I feel guided to learn and integrate a variety of healing modalities, create and build collaborative communities worldwide and to express and grow in joy and love. I feel grateful and excited. I feel confident. I feel free. I feel happy.
In two weeks I am again leaving home. I am packing my backpack with essential goodies and the intention of following the path as it appears. I have purchased two separate one way tickets, one returning to the site of the YTT in Mexico for a plant medicine retreat and one to visit Ananda Page (YTT guide and co-founder) in Guatemala. I do not know where this journey will lead me, though one arguably never knows. I am learning that the physical destination of my journeys is of little importance. The adage, “wherever you go, there you are” has found a special place in my heart as I now recognize its truth.
My journey is no longer about seeking to distract and fill the void. My journey is about allowing, traveling with the flow, living in Truth, creating space for my soul to shine.
My dharma is healing and leading through just Being.
Want to learn more about how to discover your truth in Mexico? Check out our Mexico Yoga Teacher Training!
Tahlia Joy Rubin is a seeker of joy, connection, love, truth, and purpose. She enjoys dance, yoga, meditation, nature, people, animals, travel and challenges. She is passionate about learning and finding her unique path through healing herself and others. Tahlia received a Dharma Grant Scholarship to support her yoga journey and graduated from the 200 HR Yoga Teacher Training at Present Moment in Mexico this fall.