I hear in my mind all these voices. I hear in my mind all these words. I hear in my mind all this music, and it breaks my heart. –Regina Spektor, Fidelity

I have always known that I was full inside – full of these words, images, and sounds that somehow I wanted to get out and share.

I asked Monique – a yoga friend I’d met the Women of Color Retreat at Kripalu – about the yoga teacher training she had done. “When you do that much bodywork, your stuff is gonna come up.”

That sealed it for me: I knew I wanted to do the training. I wanted this Stuff – the heaviness, the depression, the self-hatred – out of my body. I wanted help in letting it out.

I often think it is a miracle I graduated from college – my wounds were so raw and gaping during that time. The education seemed to support self-estrangement. On paper I was a model student of success. Inside I felt dead, and most days I did not want to wake up.

Two weeks after graduation I leaped into the 9 to 5 Work World after 13 years of student life. No one prepares you for the loneliness, the confusion, the doubt, the overwhelm. I shared the difficulty I was having in adjusting to life after college with a co-worker at the indy newspaper where I was a staff writer. She said “You’ll get used to it.” But I never did.

When I look back on those two years at the paper, what I remember most is the day I taught a woman who sat near me the cobra pose. We crouched to the floor in the lobby of the office. I applied gentle pressure to her lower back as she lifted her chest and breathed. In that moment I felt a wholeness I had never felt at my staff writer job. I discovered I had something to offer that I could give joyously, something that used all of my intelligence to give it, not just my ever-working brain.

I left my first job after college to begin yoga teacher training. That year I practiced yoga daily. Sometimes it was 10 minutes rolling around on the floor feeling my spine. Sometimes it was a two-hour practice of asana (postures), pranayama (deep breathing), and seated meditation.

Something I know from my own experience is: the body loves doing the same thing over and over again. Repetition, when done gently and with awareness, creates strength. The difference in my body over that year was unmistakable. My core was stronger from the inside out. For the first time I began to delight in the bliss of embodiment and its consequential companion, self-acceptance.

I enjoy the sounds that come out of my mouth. I sing harmonies with the music playing all around me. Rhythms, melodies, lyrics come to me all the time. I hear in my mind all these voices. I hear in my mind all these words. I hear in my mind all this music, and actually it doesn’t break my heart. It opens me ever wider, reminding me that I am connected to everything at my core.

Practice tool: Try this – start humming to yourself. Don’t think about it too much, just dive in. If this is outside of your comfort zone, you might start with a commonplace song like Row Row Row Your Boat and then gradually move into your own tune. If it feels good, you eventually may want to move into vocalizing with an open mouth (aka singing ;o). If you feel resistance, just stay with humming for a while. Pretend you are singing a child to sleep and YOU are that child. See if you can let it be comforting, soothing, relaxing. Afterwards, gather that body data and make it work for you. What do you notice?

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This is part three in a four-part series of blog posts on the theme “Things I Know From My Own Experience” also playfully known by the jerky acronym TIKFMOE.

Copyright 2009. Beandrea Davis. Please ask permission before re-printing.