Acceptance is hard. It seems like a basic concept, but in reality, it’s a talent that can take years to fine-tune. From acknowledging our own mistakes to accepting the death of a loved one, and everything in between, acceptance is a skill that requires practice.
Taylor Hunt spent years of his life battling addiction, and during that time, he made numerous mistakes and hurt loved ones. When he was finally able to become sober, Taylor writes in his memoir, “I need to accept myself and stop wanting to be someone else.”
When Yogaja interviewed Taylor, he explained how he was able to come to terms with his own riddled past: “I processed [my past] and worked through it. I’ve done hours and hours of step work and therapy.”
“Once I knew I wanted to live again, I made a decision to do whatever it took to make it to the other side” Taylor continues. "I’m a very strong person. I was strong when I was in my addiction and I’m even stronger today. I knew in my heart of hearts, I could [accept my past and move on]. I just had to do the work--getting over the stuff so it didn’t hold me back.”
Taylor Hunt has been sober for well over a decade and is now an Authorized Level 2 Ashtanga teacher, husband and father to three children, owner of Ashtanga Yoga Columbus, and director of the nonprofit Trini Foundation. He travels the world teaching others about ashtanga yoga and sharing his own story when applicable. Taylor is coming to Yogaja Yoga’s downtown Toledo location for a weekend of ashtanga yoga, the practice that was an integral part of his recovery, August 18-19.
MEDITATION AND YOGA
Todd Norian, another world-renowned yoga teacher with decades of experience and founder of Ashaya Yoga, had a completely different journey to yoga, but Todd echoes the importance of acceptance in life and in our yoga practice. Todd explains that life is “not about perfection. It’s about acceptance and our capacity to be resilient.”
Todd contends that a regular meditation practice is key in learning acceptance: “When you have a meditation practice, you will know what to do and how to act. You will become strong, confident, peaceful, open-hearted, and ready to wholeheartedly engage with life from a place of worthiness.”
Besides meditation, a physical yoga practice can help heal both the physical and emotional body and aid in acceptance. Todd discloses that like the Greek mythic character, Atlas, the shoulders are where we carry the weight of the world. In his upcoming workshop “Super Shoulder Openers” at the downtown Toledo studio on August 12, Todd will teach a sequence of therapeutic poses and exercises designed to free the shoulders, restore balance, build strength and relieve chronic pain.
Jess Betz, a seasoned yoga teacher new to the Yogaja herd, asserts that reiki can also help with emotional and physical well being. She summarizes, “Reiki is very healing. It gets the prana, or life force energy, flowing through the body through the meridians and nadis. When we experience stress or trauma, we transmit that energy into the muscles, organs, and chakras, which can eventually develop into physical and emotional health issues. Reiki moves blocked energy and can put energy back into the chakras that may be depleted.”
“During a treatment, an intention can be set that you want to work on,” explains Jess. “I can feel--through my hands--which chakras are blocked or have too much energy…[and] I balance the chakras, which in turn balances emotions and helps with any digestive issues."
Shauna Gilsdorf adds, “Reiki is sometimes called energy medicine, and it’s a type of energy healing that may seem bizarre to some people. Reiki can dissolve pain and discomfort in the body and support healing by removing blocks to the flow of energy and infuse the body with Universal healing energy. Reiki treatments allow the body to relax and absorb as much life force energy as it can!”
“Reiki is helpful in relieving emotional trauma by eliminating toxic energy, whether its physical, mental, spiritual, or emotional,” continues Shauna. “Trauma and stress can absolutely get stuck and or stored in our bodies, but Reiki can encourage this incredible energetic shift! It’s really quite amazing.”
Jess will be teaching Power Flow on Sundays at 5:30 p.m. and Intermediate Flow on Mondays at 7:15 at night, and Shauna teaches Power Flow on Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m..
Our Yogaja teachers Jess Betz, Chloe Littzen, and Shauna Gilsdorf all have reiki training, and Anya Light will be holding a Level One Reiki Training at the downtown Toledo Yogaja location Saturday, August 25.
Yet another method for fostering acceptance and healing our bodies incorporates learning to control--yes, control--hormones with pranayama (breath). Chris De Vilbiss, PhD, explains, “Hormones are chemical intelligence in our [bodies] that control feelings and metabolism, but also [are] controlled by [our] nervous system and mental chatter.”
“What you say to yourself can become anxiety, or it can become bliss” De Vilbiss expounds. “How you breathe is the most direct mechanical route to controlling hormones, but furthermore, where you LOOK with your eyes while you tamper with your autonomic nervous system (the part that's not within your "control") will grow your awareness there. What you look at grows.”
“Grow your coordination with hormone glands (meaning endocrine glands) by my system of breath control, gazing, and mindset. This is 9th limb,” De Vilbiss finishes.
Chris De Vilbiss is teaching a workshop titled “Control Your Hormones and Other Pranayama Practices” at the downtown Toledo Yogaja location the evening of August 24.