Tiffany Wood Yoga

Lessons from the river

To sit nearby one's teacher 

is how the teachings of yoga have been transmitted to students for thousands of years. I recently spent 21 days sitting at the feet of an ancient master named the Colorado River. 

Colorado river Grand Canyon mile 100 is home to Crystal rapid holding an esteemed rating of class 8 out of 10. I sat with her for 30 minutes the afternoon before we navigated her huge waves the following morning. In sitting by her thundering roar and observing her unwavering flow, I found peace with what it means to put myself into the powerful current of life with courage and trust. We must intend for a successful ride while believing that if everything goes upside down, we are composed and strong enough to ride outside the perceived safety.  Submersion into turbulent flow is a reality that can be met with the choice to revel in the Power of the Infinite rather than be held hostage to the fear of it.

After sitting with the emotions that came up within me as I studied the most turbulent part of the rapid, I walked down river and took the time to see more than the thundering churn. I saw for myself that eventually the waters do calm. I allowed the river to show me there would be time to piece it all back together if things went sideways or time to celebrate successfully navigating the obstacles of the journey. Taking time to be Crystal’s student and to then integrate her teachings with my own Self-awareness allowed the remaining 175 miles of the river to be greeted with anticipation and joy rather than shutting down to fear.

On day 10 out of 21 days in the Grand Canyon knowing COVID-19 was unfolding into pandemic crisis

 I was aware that the lessons of the Colorado river were preparing me to lead a more empowered life.  I did not know what kind of world I was going to return to, but I did know I had received an immeasurable gift. The gift of willingly and courageously putting myself into the powerful current and moving downstream into the unknowns with peaceful means. The gift of knowing that like Crystal rapid, I too am a powerful force capable of holding my love and my sense of center in such a way that staying in the current feels life affirming no matter how turbulent the waters.

Now, on day 29 of my re-entry into a world that's been turned upside down into the torrential flow of COVID-19 for over 60 days.....I am humbly bowing to the lesson of Crystal rapid as a metaphor for living in this time of great reckoning.

Lessons from my teacher, the Colorado river in this unprecedented time in our history…

Scout the rapid: Take a time out and look at what is before you. It may feel like there is no map for this current time and place, but the truth is you can stop and observe. You can take in information and knowledge from others and at some point, you must integrate the outside world within your own heart and truthful wisdom.

Sit with the obstacles and also see the bigger picture: What makes Crystal rapid a class 8 out of 10 is the ability to avoid the obstacles is greatly reduced. What a metaphor for life! Where do you see the waters calming and how can you begin to trust that you are powerful enough to step into this turbulent time from your center? How often will you need to retreat to the peaceful waters within in order to regroup or acknowledge how you have been successful so far?

Receive the fullness of your POWER and keep it aligned with UNIVERSAL power: Here’s where your spiritual practices come in! You are a student of life. Your yoga practice doesn’t just happen on a mat or sitting on a meditation cushion! The time you do put into your practices will help to make you more peacefully available to the unknowns that show up as the teacher of life. Earth School is a relentless force to behold. It will demand that you own your personal power by stepping into the current that waveringly flows within; into you knowing your fullness.

What does power mean?  

This is every yogis personal question to answer! Sit with yourself and listen to the roar of life within you. Harness the power that you discover within yourself especially in times of fear. Rediscover, over and over again, what it means to humbly navigate from your internal GPS. Are you willing to become the devoted student of embracing the practice of tapping into the greatest source of power there is? The power of life flowing in you as you.