Yoga gave me back my tribe. I was partially raised in Bird Creek, Alaska. My parents and a few other couples founded this community in the late 1960’s. We lived off the land and without running water, indoor plumbing or electricity. Alaska is beautiful, bountiful and harsh. We relied on each other’s skills and support to create an inclusive, thriving, nurturing environment. We were referred to as the ‘Bird Creek Tribe’.
Eventually, my parents split up and my Mom and I left Bird Creek and moved to Rhode Island. Since then, I always struggled to fit in and find a sense of belonging. I didn’t’ truly experience this again until I found yoga.
I began practicing the physical practice of yoga asana in 1999. Prior to this I had been studying and practicing eastern philosophy, particularly Hinduism, as a result of my undergraduate degree in philosophy. While I was pursuing my master’s degree in holistic psychology, my Mother, who was a regular yoga practitioner, suggested that since I was interested in the philosophy of yoga I might enjoy the physical component. I told her that “yoga is a fad, Madonna is doing it” she responded, “it’s a 5000-year-old fad, you should try it” So, I did. And then everything came together.
Within a couple of years of a dedicated yoga practice, I started to clear out some of the behaviors, and relationships, that really weren’t in support of my evolution toward wholeness. I didn’t know this is what was happening at the time, but I was releasing unhealthy patterns and strategies that I had relied on to create the sense of belonging, and fitting, in that I hadn’t felt in such a long time.
There was a lot of love lost during this period of my life, but it was all for the best.
Making these relationship changes, and changing my perspective, ultimately directed me home, to my tribe. I started studying with Shiva Rea, then I began to assist her and travel the world meeting yogis that I had so much in common with. We were all searching for the same wholeness and had found it through yoga. One day I received a letter addressed to me from the ‘Prana Flow Tribe’, my Mom handed to me and smiled with a nod. I saw all of the dots connect in this moment.
Yoga, and this community, has sustained me for the last 17 years. We have supported each other through birth, death, sickness, health, wealth and loss. Even as we have grown, settled, and don’t see each other very frequently, I feel the connection with what they mean to me whenever I get on the mat. The tribe continues to grow as I landed, once again, in the lap of nourishment in the oneOEight community.
When I had been trying to get pregnant for over two years and had to seek very expensive medical support, I went to India. Yoga gave me the strength, faith, knowledge and skills to persevere. I climbed the mountains, lit the candles, went to the temples, bathed in the Ganga, called to the Mother, to Shiva to the earth, sky and everything in between. My Indian community chanted for me, 108,000 rounds of mantra!
Whether it was the mantra, the mountain, the medical procedure (done with medications that I bought for a fraction of the US price in India), when my son Seamus was born, I knew that it was my yoga that had brought me to him.
This is why I am a yoga girl, and always will be!