In pursuit of a kinder world

 
Jessica Dewar Yoga
 

Kindness. What does it mean to be kind? What does it mean to be kind to ourselves? What does kindness look like when bestowed upon others? These are important questions I believe we could all take a moment to sit and reflect upon.

Many people have asked why I’ve chosen to open a studio that operates solely on the generosity of the students who come to practice there. Who come to be a part of this community. My answer, is a “dream for a kinder world.” I’ve always liked to believe people are innately good. Whilst some say this is a naïve belief, I like to think it is true. My career in Rehabilitation introduced me to a very negative, angry world, an experience I am truly grateful for as it has very much contributed to the person I am today. I found through my work, that judging others for poor behavior, harmful words or actions was never going to lead to a successful result for the client or myself as their Consultant. Instead I sought to understand. I wanted to look beyond the behavior or words to learn why someone was behaving in such a harmful way (to themselves mostly). When I took the time to get to know people and learn of the difficulties in their lives, I saw the human. The soul. The heart that had been covered in stress, worry and pain. This is who they truly were/are – not their words or poor actions.

Now, to be clear here, seeking to understand a person’s underlying motives does not excuse bad behavior, but this attitude to my work helped me to connect with people as I was genuinely empathetic to their situation.

I found people often just needed a soft place to land. When life is stressful, we can act out. We become defensive, aggressive and feel hopeless. The light at the end of the tunnel becomes a mere flicker if it exists at all. But when someone is there to remind us of the possibilities we are capable of, to encourage us to get up every time we fall, to help us feel we are enough when everything in our being makes us feel worthless – then I believe a kinder, more compassionate world can exist.

My mission with Jessica Dewar Yoga is to make the studio this soft place for people to land, especially when they are facing challenging times in their lives. I want people to feel like it is OK not to have their shit together. To feel accepted and enough, just as they are. We are so hard on ourselves nowadays, always feeling like we’re not doing a good enough job – parents feeling like they’re terrible parents, students worry their grades are not good enough, business owners fear taking a coffee break will see their business collapse. We all need to have space to take a step back, breathe deeply and just slow down – and for that to be ok.

At the end of the day, we are all fighting the same battle. Life is tough. But life is also beautiful. Through cultivating a community committed to supporting one another along this journey, regardless of how vastly different it may look from one person to the next, then I believe that kinder world will exist – purely through increased awareness, a more relaxed state of mind and healthier outlook upon self-love. Happiness is not a destination. It is a state of mind and if I can do anything to help others feel that little bit happier in their lives, then I consider my work, my cause to be a success.

Do you feel life is just that little bit too much at times? What do you do to try and manage the daily stressors of life? I would love to hear from you and by sharing your story your healing others to realize they too are not alone. We’re in this together.

Sending huge hugs and love,

Jessica

A few too many ‘fluctuations’ for my liking

Ribs hurt. Back hurts. Knees hurt. Breathing hurts. Body’s shaking. Emotions are all over the place…. But I couldn’t be happier with myself. With my situation. That pretty much sums up today.

Ok - I will break it down into a little more detail but it’s one of those nights where I am so exhausted, my mind is mush and therefore subheadings are a necessity.

A little lopsided

This morning we practiced a new Kriya (cleansing technique) called Uddiyana. This is to pull the stomach up. Take a look at this short YouTube clip to see what this looks like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcfvWctsRxU

So, whilst doing this technique I noticed my belly only tucks in properly on the right side. The left doesn’t seem to tuck as far. I asked Bharath why my belly is lopsided and he said it’s nothing to do with my belly. It’s the Scoliosis in my back. Gently he explained my alignment (in my back) is quite off and he can see it quite obviously in my Sirsasana (head stand). This explains why I have to work that much harder to find my balance in this asana. He tapped me on my shoulder as if to say it’s ok, assured it can be fixed and gently smiled at me before walking away.

I’m not sure what it was that Bharath said, or if it was how he said it, but I had to hold back the tears as he walked away. Never before has the Scoliosis upset me like that before. I’m not sure if I felt as though someone felt true empathy and compassion for me, or if I just felt immensely safe with this man in that moment? Or quite possibly that I was letting him down in some way by not having this perfect back (which is absolutely not the case - I’m talking from a deeper level here that I can’t even seem to explain to myself!). All I know is the way he spoke, the kind eyes he looked at me with combined with the most gentle but assuring touch really moved me. Even writing this now I have tears in my eyes and I’m still not sure why. (Owen has this problem with me often…). I must be going through one of those “fluctuations” Bharath always warns us about! They are meant to become more intense during this part of the course so that’s quite possibly going on under the surface.

Do the Chakrasana Walk!

Not only is the Shala becoming a sauna the more Mysore heats up, but our training is heating up also. I love our evening classes. Bharath calls the evening classes an “Innovation Series”. Essentially this is the time to learn the more advanced asanas like Pincha Mayurasana (which I spoke about late last week). As we have been working with Chakrasana (back bend / wheel) for sometime now, Bharath offered for those who were comfortable to bring their practice to the next level by walking the length of the Shala in Chakrasana. Only myself and one other girl attempted this. With legs already shaking from the 2 repetitions we had already completed on our mats just moments before, I went to the wall at the back of the class and prepared to walk. My legs are getting very strong the more I work here. In Chakrasana in particular I am becoming quite sturdy. I lifted myself off the ground and after a few steps to get the rhythm, I relatively quickly walked on my hands and feet from one wall to another and then back again, using the lines of the tiles as my guide for where to go. I swear the room quadrupled in size whilst I was doing this! It was quite an achievement I thought. Toward the end of the walk my arms and legs were shaking and my breathing was becoming louder and harsher. I wanted to give up about mid-way on the return, but in my head I just kept repeating, “keep going, do not give up, you’re nearly there, this will be an awesome achievement, focus, breathe, almost there.” So far I am the only person in the class who can do this (not that that means anything - just awesome to be able to do it).

We’ve also moved into our handstands. Bharath said I was very good at these. My problem is I don’t know how to leave the wall, but Bharath assured that is coming. By this point, in tonight’s class, my arms were turning to jelly. I was exhausted -  as I am now.

So, after a cold shower (not by choice) I’m in bed and praying to sleep through for once. I have more work to do with my thesis, but the plan is an early night. I’m unusually tired at the moment so i need to listen to my body and rest it well. I also need to try and manage these ‘fluctuations’ - God knows I don’t need anymore of these!!

Namaste xx


Some pictures from my day. I always take time to try and ‘see’

Why not?

Coconut anyone?

Yummy but not before class again…