**I’m just going to go ahead and preface this post that we’re about to get real hippie up in this blog. Like, complete and total stereotypical yoga hippie. Please feel free to leave now and come back next weekend after I do something stupid while drunk. Don’t worry, I won’t be mad.
Last weekend in YTT, we had a really powerful moment towards the end of the Sunday, the official halfway mark of the program. We were all exhausted from around 8 hours of practice across two days (11 hours if you count Thursday and Friday… I hurt), and we’d spent a lot of the weekend discussing mantras and chanting; the day ended with the group in a circle singing the Maha Mantra and clapping along, while three yoga mats were never empty in the middle, each of us offering a small yoga flow, or our favorite pose, or just something to each other to commemorate the incredible bond we’re forming in such a short time, basking in how palpable the love and support was in that room. I left after having shed more than a few tears in the final meditation, just bursting with emotions and feeling like I was on top of the world. There’s a tangible feeling radiating from a person when you’ve experienced something like that – in yogic terms, it’s like operating on a different level of consciousness. In layman’s terms, I’m talkin’ about good vibrations.
Energy. In scientific terms, it’s the property of an object that can be transferred or changed but never destroyed. In real life, it’s that feeling when you walk into a room of laughing people and you immediately feel happier, or how one stressed out and cranky coworker can bring the whole team vibe down (what? I’ve never done that). Through our own practice in life, yogis learn to be more sensitive, more attuned to the energies within our own bodies and minds, and a side effect is you become infinitely more aware of the energy of people around you. It’s why you’ll hear a yogi refer to someone in terms like “she has such a beautiful energy” or “I couldn’t handle being around that negative energy much longer.” It starts to become palpable, tangible how strangers and friends are feeling, even when they don’t say a word. I feel like my people-sensory skills have completely exploded in the last month of yoga training, so much so that it’s caused a massive shift in my mindset around my life in New York City, where it is, where it’s been, and where I thought it was headed, until recently.
These kind of vibrations, this elevated consciousness or whatever you want to believe it might be aren’t limited to the moment you’re standing next to someone, and they don’t require someone to look you in the face. It’s why people can’t interpret text messages sometimes, like when you start dating someone and you can’t tell if they’re flirting with you or brushing you off; the words say one thing but your intuition is telling you it’s something else, the words are real but the feelings are implied. At times even the most direct words have a subtle vibration of something deeper to them, so instead of cutting through you, causing anxiety or even inciting you to engage, your reaction is a sad smile and maybe even some sense of relief. Because the more attuned you are to all of these vibrations, the good and the bad and the in-between, you’re also sensitive to what energies you’ll allow in your life, knowing they have the power to affect you when you least expect and least need them to.
Something we practice in yoga is ahimsa, non-harming, compassion. There are a million ways to interpret ahimsa in modern life, but in this case I’m referring to one of the most basic: don’t harm yourself. Don’t think negative things about the body that sustains your life in this world, nourish it with good foods and self-care. And more importantly don’t bring negativity into your Self, into your consciousness. Like begets like- negativity breeds negativity, and if you choose to surround yourself and engage with negative energy, that negativity will come back to your own life. I spent so many years of my life breeding negative thoughts about my physical and mental self that I’m only now barely scratching the surface of what it really means to be happy. The first step in that is an easy one though: the first step is to remove myself from situations where I’m doused in negative energy and focus on the rest of the positive things that have come into my life in recent and not-so-recent days and weeks. Like begets like – and cultivating this positive energy around me is something I have a feeling I’ll need in the months ahead, where the Big Change I thought I wanted is changing right before my eyes.