Kula Grad Series: Inspiration from the Forest.
By: Jess Lace
Living at the Yoga Forest for the last 25 days has been one of the most incredible and memorable journeys I have ever been on. I didn’t know what to expect coming in to it but since arriving here it has been a truly emotional and magical experience.
Amongst the abundance of information I have been given during my time here, there are a few things that have really resonated with me and are what I would really love to take with me one I walk down the mountain for the last time for a while. Many of them relate heavily to the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali and I credit them for being able to really connect to my inner and outer being.
The first relates to Tapas, which is outlines in the Book II – Sadhana Pada. It related to self-discipline and that has been a large common factor throughout this training. Obviously with trainings like this come schedules and with these schedules comes Tapas.
Living in an eco-community means that food and meals are mindful times. It’s been a really wonderful way to appreciate food and the people are you sharing it with. This is something that I want to carry on when I leave because I think its so important to be mindful of how much you are eating and my body will also thank me for it too.
nother major tapas while being here is getting out of bed every morning before the sun to head to meditation and asanas. I am so excited to keep this one going. To keep exploring and improving and deepening my practice with each morning I continue to get up and show up on my mat.
oble silence is one of the tapas I was not so great at throughout my time here so I am putting it under saucha from the Niyamas, which represents simplicity, purity and refinement. I’m putting it under this because I really do believe that by practicing silence most mornings I was able to enjoy the simplicities of the activities I was doing and the purities of it.
It allowed me to take space and time for myself to focus on the things I normally don’t take much notice of or disregard or push to one side. Finding purity in just enjoying the food I was feeding my body, being able to work through and sit with my thoughts and feelings. I realized quickly, too, how pure silence really is and that speech or the need to converse isn’t always necessary or needed.
Often times after an emotional morning or meditation, sitting in silence was exactly what I needed. In our daily lives, we are driven so harshly by not being able to sit in silence, but to fill space with sound, so I really want to carry this through into my days so I can find space and beauty in the small things, in the simple things and enjoy them in silence.
Although we spent all our mornings in silence, the rest of the days were surrounded by so much joy in the loudest of forms. I have never met a group of people with so much support and love to give. In just a few days, the relationships initially formed and deeply developed throughout the training, has shown me true, real life.
Ahimsa Nischola Joy Devi describes it as reverence, love and compassion for all. The love and compassion I have observed and witnessed with not only our group but our teachers and the forest staff is something so beautiful and raw and genuine that I want to be able to bring the sparkle of that with me and carry it on and into the lives of my friends, family, students and even the people I have yet to meet. Because if I can hold even a small space for someone, like my space has been held here, then I will feel so much more content.
Contentment or Santosha of the Niyamas is the last piece of the sutras. I am determined to carry through into my daily life. This training has taught me so much about finding contentment within myself and with others. From no wifi in the forest, to limited power and eating what is cooked for you, I have quickly adapted to being grateful for things I would normally take for granted and finding contentment in the small things like shower day or sunshine on my face during asanas.
I truly believe that finding Santosha has helped me to think clearer and get to the root of who I am and what makes me happy. It’s easier in the forest for sure to find contentment. The amount of distractions and trash life throws is going to be a challenge. But I’m excited for it.
I haven’t felt this grounded and myself in the longest time and thanks to the forest, the people and yoga, I am so ready to take everything I have been taught, the habits I have created and the experiences I have gained and apply them to life in order to inspire and work towards finding balance, love and compassion, beauty through simplicity, contentment through self-discipline and finally, working towards finding my higher Self.
So thank you Kula, and thank you Yoga Forest.
I am so grateful, full of love and magic because of you.