By Shanna Willie TT200-33

With this blustery season change I find all sorts of feelings moving through my body and mind. Excitement and anxiety, annoyance at the cold, anticipation for the future… I also find myself looking at my goals and taking a reassessment to see what may need adjusting and fine tuning. With all this change inevitably happening I feel my practice changing as well. After months of doing SomaYoga, the small subtle introspective ways we can move our body while connecting our awareness to each individual muscle, I’ve noticed my practice has evolved. It has become easier without becoming automatic. I know these movements well and have forged strong connections between my brain and certain muscle groups but I’m still finding room to grow into even subtler places within my body and mind. 

SomaYoga is the antithesis of American capitalism. Ope! Everywhere we look we’re encouraged to go bigger. The Go Big or Go Home theme is celebrated in our society. Bigger is Better. We are always piling more on ourselves whether it’s more entertainment, or more things to do, or higher standards for ourselves. SomaYoga invites us to do less and notice what happens. SomaYoga suggests we slow down, quiet ourselves, and quiet our minds so that we can listen to what’s happening on the inside. On the inside of our bodies, the inside of our minds, so that we can know ourselves better. The movements can get quite subtle and can be quite small. It turns out there’s a whole world to be found within the small. 

For me, someone who has almost always gone big or gone home, this has been such a welcomed change. I knew signing up for this SomaYoga teacher training that it could help bring balance into my life. As someone who has banged on the drums loud and fast for years, someone who has always driven a car fast, (whoops! Sorry!), picked up more shifts at the restaurant, did the extra side work, someone who lifts the extra heavy weights… this has been a sharp departure from everything that I’ve grown into. A welcomed departure. Now after several months of practicing SomaYoga I’m finally starting to align these two parts of myself. These small, subtle parts that I’ve been reconnecting with and these bigger more bombastic parts that I’m very good at connecting with. I’m starting to see them come together and live more in union with each other.

My ego cringes at the idea of a middle ground forming within me. My ego has always valued expressing uniqueness through extremes. The thought of mediocrity sends shivers down my ego’s spine. But my SomaYoga spine tells me to have a bit of trust, practice surrender, and most importantly, allow curiosity to lead the way. I’ve never lived with such balance in my life, maybe it’s not cringe, maybe I’ll actually like it? I am excited to be on this exploratory journey. I’m choosing to let curiosity be my guiding light as we move into spring and summer. I’m interested to see how these big loud parts of myself and these small, more subtle parts of myself continue to weave pathways into each other.

Yoga North ISYI Teacher Training Student Shanna Willie