I have just returned from teaching yoga at a magical resort in Fiji. No, probably not the Fiji that you are thinking …. the marketing budget of influential Tourism bodies don’t stretch far from the big 5 on the mainland. Perhaps a few of the iconic islands get a look in from time to time, but little focus has been brought to this remote spot. Kind of lucky in a round about way…
Korosun Resort is located on the Northern main island of Vanua Levu, known as the “Hidden Paradise”. Set in a rainforest and coconut grove, sitting proudly against the edge of the reef, Korosun Resort has been named after the Sea of Koro that separates it from Vita Levu and the Lau group of islands to the East.
I had only just started to get back into my yoga before heading to this tropical paradise, after forced rest due to an injury sustained 18 months ago. This was followed by a consequential downward spiral! Finding myself immersed in this delightful paradise, with “stillness on steroids”, and reuniting myself with my yoga mat was nothing short of cathartic. It was like finding a long lost friend and all the love that comes rushing back with that.
That friendship will stay with me now, in everything I do. Whether it is business or personal, the journey into stillness, positive mindset, acceptance and non judgement, is fundamental to the growth of those seeking the highest human experience. You see, fundamentally, yoga is all about stilling the mind and (over time) developing a sound mindset. It seeks to overcome the attachment to thought and the constant chatter (often negative) that plagues and limits many of us. It develops a discipline of trusting the process, and overcoming the obstacles of the mind through adopting strong physical postures and checking in with your thoughts. What does your head tell you when you are being challenged or experiencing discomfort? Breath is central to it all. Controlling the breath and self talk whilst under stress is a powerful exercise for body and mind. Detaching from thought as you draw your vision inwards to only notice the inward and outward breath. I watch myself, carefully. I notice the rise and fall of my chest. I listen to the oceanic sound of my breath and feel the body being nourished by this mere simplicity. Total stillness. Shh …. listen inwardly to the body, not the mind. That’s it. There is power in the silence. There is movement in the stillness. Movement towards a better me. Movement towards oneness. Enlightenment. Calm.
My greatest love is in sharing this journey with others. Guests from the resort, staff, and children at the local village school of Nagigi. I lead them through asana’s (postures) and challenge them physically, whilst I gently guide their mind to detach and face the obstacles with acceptance and openess. I watch eagerly as they make shifts into quieter spaces and embracing more positive feedback loops. Some don’t find it, and that’s OK, but they take on the challenge anyway. I know that the process of starting the search for inner stillness will eventually get them there if they stick at it. Those that haven’t experienced it, question if they ever will, so early frustrations are common.
Twelve classes were held for guests, with a couple of staff joining in. Once a person joined the classes, they usually continued, as regular as is my morning coffee. We executed perfect warrior poses, engaged fingertips, lengthened arms, energised toes, with precision drishti’s – ancient yogi’s discovered that the quality of our eye gaze is directly related to the quality of our thoughts. That’s why I would say “set your eyes onto your favourite coconut tree out on the island and soften your gaze, but don’t deviate”. Inner stillness comes from outer stillness and control. Even the passing by of the handsome cocktail waiter should not distract you.
But it was the intention setting that was the glue for us, that united us together, that bonded us as if we had known each other a lifetime. I invited inquiry into how we showed up in the world. Where and how do we want to improve? If you want to be more compassionate to others, you must start by first being compassionate to yourself. If you wish to have more gratitude, be more grateful in your own life. Whatever it is, you must embrace it with every cell in your body and execute… today. It may seem small, and it is. It’s the accumulation of the small stuff that grows into the big. Just like a single thread. Once woven into your day to day life, it gradually builds, and the colours and pattern slowly reveal. As your life tapestry evolves, so does your impact on the world.
As I guided us into another savasana, it dawned on me that I was weaving my thread. My thread is that if compassion. I can make a difference by simplifying the way forward for people. Helping them to face difficulties with inner calm and strength. An unwavering mindset and belief. All of that can be learned through yoga. As I said to the sweet children of Nagigi school “We all have worries… no matter how old we are, what colour, how rich or poor … it’s how we deal with them that matters most”. I caught the eyes of a few students, eyes that spoke a thousand “thank you’s” and I received a few nods of agreement. Little Georgia, my 7 yr old, tip toed over to me and whispered in my ear “Mummy, my yoga teacher says that worries are like clouds … let them into your mind but don’t focus on them as they will quickly pass”. So I shared those powerful words of wisdom.
So I now pose the question to you “What is your thread?”.