This class was inspired by this amazing letter from one who has found her path in that of yoga. In unbelievable gratitude; I offer up this class, and pieces of the letter that inspired it:
“To be great, be whole;
Exclude nothing, exaggerate nothing that is not you.
Be whole in everything. Put all you are
Into the smallest thing you do.
So, in each small lake, the moon shines with great splendour
Because it blooms high up above.”
Fernando Pessoa (1888 – 1935)
Yoga came into my life about ten years ago. I was drawn to it because of its whole breathe-mind-body challenging features. I was feeling kind of “stuck’ in my own body. Everything I had been doing my entire life concerning exercising began to feel useless, and extremely mechanical. Mindless.
I saw in Yoga some sort of rescue and salvation from all that. The way I saw it, someone who is able to do “Sirsasana” or “Buja Pidasana” or any other of those really challenging poses had to be in a better “position” in his or her body and mind than those who could not. And I wanted to be in a better position, too. Both in my mind and in my body.
I started by practicing the Iyengar style with a certified teacher in Brasília. As time went by, I started to feel more and more unfit. And small. And heavy. And ugly. And fat. And stuck. And sad. And frustrated. And unloveable. And I decided to quit.
I quit Iyengar. But I was not through with Yoga in my heart.
Maybe I had chosen the wrong style, I thought. So I decided to take on Ashtanga. Different approach to asanas and sequencing. I kept on trying. For quite some time, actually. The limits created by the rigidity of the series that I have mentioned above led to an unbearably untrustworthy practice environment for me. And I decided to quit.
I quit Ashtanga. But I was not through with Yoga in my heart.
About three months ago , I searched YouTube for a healing Yoga series. And that was when I came across FreeYoga TV. And you. And your wonderful classes. I had experienced some Hatha Yoga classes since I “encountered” Yoga, but never like yours. I started to attend your classes online. You and your classes have changed my life and my feelings towards all of my Yoga practice issues. Your firm, but yet respectful guidance throughout the class and the calmness of your voice takes me to places in my practice where I have never been able to go before. In your class, I can breathe. In your class, I find the struggle freed from pressure. In your class, I “date” my own body. In your class, I find the perfect rhythm and time to lovingly reckon my own story. And although I still struggle with my shoulders, and although I still have to use the wall for “Sirsasana”, and although I clearly see the unattainability of some asanas to me, it does not matter. Because, after your class, I feel fit. And grand. And light. And beautiful. And free. And happy. And accomplished. And loveable. I think that this is what Yoga is all about. That a person as talented and accomplished as you should ever take the time to bring this wonderful Yoga classes to us living abroad on a donation basis with such commitment and generosity is genuinely admirable. And there is no thanking enough or donating enough or writing enough to repay you. But I will try by donating what I can every month and sending all my love and thankfulness to you, Stephen. I have a better life because of you. Thank you so much. Feel free to share my words with anyone you want, if you ever find it convenient.
Finally, as the Holidays approach, I wish you and your loved ones all the goodness in the world. I send you all the love in my heart along with the poem which opens these writings, by my favourite poet of the Portuguese language, Fernando Pessoa, in a free translation to English by myself. I see you and I perceive you as the very person that he describes in the poem: a shining and whole human being, in all senses.
Brazil, December 15th, 2015