This past Sunday I went to an amazing yoga/meditation class. Release & Renew into Gong Meditation at Onawa. It was amazing but not only because of the usual benefits of yoga and sound tools but because of the message I got within this practice. If you’ve read my journey post you know a little about the paralyzing intense panic and anxiety I went through last year. How I couldn’t sleep or leave my room and had my heart racing nonstop. Everything was overwhelming, even getting notifications on my phone from my concerned friends. Along with my therapy, I found help from a meditation coach who I am forever thankful for all her help. She introduced me to many things, one of them being sound tools and an album by Snatam Kaur titled Grace. She suggested I could play this album while going on with my day and that it would be uplifting as it is a song of mantras (from my understanding). Personally, I have always been into hip hop, rap and lately more country and indie music so this was something I wouldn’t normally “jam” to. I did take her suggestion seriously though and was willing to try everything. I purchased the album and would fall asleep to it, I would play it when my anxiety was at its peak and when I was trying to calm my nerves before a session with my psychiatrist. I quickly noticed how soothing it was, her voice is beautiful and I didn’t even know what most of her words and mantras meant but still felt an inner peace that would give me that push to do my exposure exercises and move forward with my recovery. I still have the album on my phone but I haven’t listened to it in a while now that things are better I hadn’t even thought of it to be honest.
Fast forward a year later to this past Sunday I had read the description of this yoga class and was very excited to try it out. I did feel very anxious on my way to the class as I usually feel every now and then when trying something new. The main difference between my extreme anxiety last year is that I am not letting fear stop me from trying these new things which in the end leave me with a sense of accomplishment and peace of mind. The class I took focused on gentle yoga poses, breathing and visualization techniques to balance all chakras (I had been feeling out of tune lately so this was perfect for me). The second part of the class used sound tools such as the Gong and our own voices to chant mantras which is also an excellent sound tool that is always with us 😉 During the Gong part we were in a resting pose and I could feel myself drifting as if I were dreaming but I knew I wasn’t (or was I) it was a unique feeling and the sound would bring me back each time sending me back into a deeper sense of relaxation. At the end of that part we ended the class with a beautiful song as we sang along to the mantra “Ra Ma Da Sa Sa Se So Hung” If I remember correctly. I felt emotional but in a good way. I was so relaxed and was proud of myself for not talking my way out of the class. The thought usually runs through my head especially this time when I was running late. I was brought back to the journey I have been taking from my lowest point to now. The class ended and I continued to reflect on how great I felt, how strong I am to have overcome my fears and continue to find new tools to help myself and hopefully others with my experiences. I just felt a great sense of balance come over me. The mantra kept playing in my head and suddenly I had an “aha” moment when I got home. That mantra was one of the songs in the album that would calm me last year. I love when things like this happen, I took it as a sign that I am on the right path and that I was on the right path last year as well. All the resources I looked for back when my mind was in a fog are being validated right now and being used to a higher degree. As last year, I would just listen to the mantra and take deep breaths to calm me without knowing the meaning, now it has come back to me where I’m using it in my yoga practice and chanting along with it knowing it’s a healing meditation. I’m confident later I will learn something more about it. We’re always learning and I also feel that as I’ve been so overwhelmed with my passion for absorbing everything I can right now that this sign was also meant to remind me not to overwork myself like I did last year. Different situations yet the same cycle of getting too caught up in many things and not taking time for self-care. I am grateful for the message and I will continue going to this new-found practice that brought me so much clarity. Thank you so much to the instructors Mia Moreno and Paramdayal Kaur!! You ladies are a great inspiration!!