By: Jacqueline Boychuk
The following is a little poem I wrote many years ago. When I look back at this poem I can now find compassion, love and understanding, as I imagine hugging my younger Self.
There is no AIR
The fog is too thick
Walking, searching in a black and white world
Reality, clouded with a dense fog of confusion
A nightmare with no beginning and no end
I can’t BREATHE
I can’t SEE
I can’t TALK
My body is numb…
Paralyzed by fear, pain and darkness…
WOW!!! that was Heavy! Yet it was my life. Plagued with out of control asthma, migraines, and depression for most of my life and later on a stroke; These were my life threatening physical symptoms. Doctors trying to mask the symptoms with pharmaceuticals but never curing the root problem. Now, years later, with the benefit of hindsight, insight, and a hard look in the mirror, I see it was all a manifestation of what was going on internally. These external physical symptoms represented my thoughts and feelings.
The Who, What, When, Where, and Why’s of what happened in my life for my health and self esteem to be at this rock bottom is beside the point. As a child you hold 0% responsibility. But as an adult it is 100% your responsibility to make your self WHOLE.
PAIN! Even the sight of the word PAIN brings about revulsion. When we see, hear, experience or think about pain our first instinct is to RECOIL; To run away from pain, get as far away as we can. Then one day it hit me… PAIN (in itself) whether physical, mental or emotional never ever killed anyone. However, the AVOIDANCE of PAIN has killed MANY!
So I decided to confront my pain. My thought was, It will either kill me or it won’t. Knowing that pain in itself never killed anyone, I was sure confronting it would be difficult by eventually I would get to the other side. I knew I had to become my own best friend. No one else could cure me. Ultimately, I had to HELP MYSELF.
How I Discovered Yoga
Knowing nothing about Yoga, I was curious to give it a try and so my friend and I attended our first class I was astounded…
I COULD BREATHE!
For the first time, probably in my whole life to that point, my lungs were open and clear and I took my first ever full satisfying breath of air.
This breath of air was the beginning of my journey. My journey Home …
The universe gives you what you need to learn and to grow. The good, the bad and the ugly. It is up to you what you do with it.
The universe graced me with my husband, John, who is patient beyond words and unconditionally loving. He pointed me in the direction which I needed to go. He stood beside me and encouraged my path.
I started to explore Yoga and set up a daily practice. In my bedroom by my SELF I cried my way through many postures and routines. At the time, I didn’t know why I cried…it was just a never ending, steady flow of tears. Through the tears of my practice, in the end I felt better. The air was fresh and free flowing… deep into my belly… IN through my nose and OUT through my nose.
Eventually prescriptions were no longer needed… there were no symptoms to be masked. Out went the inhalers and steroids. Down the toilet went the anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills.
Note: Ween off medications under a Dr’s care. Withdrawal is a bitch! (LOL that is another story)
Zen, Buddhism and Self Help were topics I began to explore. Seeking to find my way out of the fog. Years later, I took a Yoga Teachers Training course which encompassed all I was struggling to find on my own. Everything began to solidify.
During my daily Yoga practice I began to notice my brain connecting the dots between yoga postures, transitional movements, breath, ancient philosophy, mantras, mudras, meditation and all I had read in the past years.
Thich Nhat Hanh spoke to me through his written words like no other.
When Tony Murdock introduced Mantra into our Yoga Teacher Training, WOW, I connected so deeply with it. They say Mantra works in a subtle way but there was nothing subtle about it, for me. It was amazing. One minute I didn’t even know what a Mantra was and the next I was chanting a Sanskrit Mantra and my whole world changed ! I adore Mantra’s because the Sanskrit words and sounds are so PURE. We do not use these words in our everyday life so there are no memories (good or bad) attached to them. They simply are what they are and their meaning is PURE. Mantra is defined as a pure sacred utterance; a meditative cue. But a mantra can be so much more. It is your truth, even if you don’t know it yet. Mantras are very powerful and hold profound teachings. So profound, in fact, that if you meditate on a mantra and/or chant the mantra you begin to find that there are really no words to accurately communicate the vastness of their meaning. It then becomes an inner knowing. A felt-sense of CONNECTEDNESS. A felt-sense of BEING.
Mudras: Then I found Mudras which mean “seal” or “closure” in Sanskrit. We use these gestures to direct the flow of energy within the body by using the hands. Mudras are a spiritual gesture that acts as an energetic seal of authenticity.
Then I thought: Why not bring it ALL into a Yoga routine directed towards a specific theme?
Yeah… WHY NOT?
I developed OM Shanti Yoga (beyond peace) Moving Meditation routines to help myself through my own suffering. Gentle, non-judgemental, life affirming teachings from ancient philosophies and great masters. Powerful mantras and mudras to physically, energetically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually lock in the theory. And the practice of specific co-ordinated slow flow yoga postures (to symbolize the theme) physically and energetically embed these life affirming teachings into every cell of the body.
The definition of HOME: a place of residence or refuge.
Home is a subjective word. Home is perceived differently by everyone. Home can be perceived as your homeland, country, state, town. Home for some is where they live now. Others feel it is their childhood home. Yet others feel home is wherever their loved ones are.
My Journey has brought me HOME. Home where there is always a warm comforting glow. Home where there is an overwhelming amount of love and compassion. Home where I am always unconditionally accepted and taken care of. My home is a place I have only recently found…
My Journey Home… to my SELF.