The following was my submission to a photo story contest on Facebook to share my story of a time when I felt "unsettled," that is, embracing the unknown by traveling afar and out of my comfort zone. I share the following as a testament of how yoga opens the boundaries of our perceived possibilities, then having explored my personal yoga practice for 7 years.
My mind was terrified with endless what-ifs and my body had stopped menstruating for months from stressing over the decision, but I took the leap anyway because my soul was calling.
For over 5 years, everything felt so safe; At age 30, my retirement and health benefits were secured in the career I had passionately trained for and studied since childhood—being an elementary schoolteacher.
While I still loved teaching, a pulsating inner truth drew me to displace myself into unknown territory and take on the challenge of living outside the comforts of my lifelong conditioning and many attachments. I needed to grow in ways I didn’t even know I could. I needed to feel more connected to the world beyond my daily routes and privileges and experience life more deeply and expansively.
In July 2008, I landed in Ghana, West Africa, where I spent a month volunteer teaching in a rural village. There I lived and learned how to take an outdoor shower with one small pail of water, to let go of my fear of the outhouse restroom (after 7 days of constipation, literally scared sh**less, LOL), to love all the children aged 2 to 16 that I taught in our one-room schoolhouse, and to celebrate life at a funeral through dance and drums. I sat with smiling strangers for long conversations in front of their partially built roofless homes as we exchanged our views on life philosophy, values and love, despite the fact that their next meal was not guaranteed or even known. True presence and being happy, with very little possessions, are what they taught me by example, that is, learning to savor the moment and connecting, soul to soul.
In this photo, I was invited to express myself through dance, with the support of the community drums, igniting my heart to feel so ALIVE. I feel this is the beauty of being “unsettled.”
So, let's turn the story around to you. How do you embrace the unknown and trust what some call "gut instinct," "multi-sensory perception" or "intuition?" Here's an encouraging 16-minute TEDx video of renowned Life Coach Jo Simpson, giving her 2 cents about listening to your inner "nudges."
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REviews of Root 2 Rise Yoga with Michelle chua:
Michelle truly lives out what she teaches. She is so much more than a yoga teacher - I learned this when I went on her exquisitely curated trip that she organized to Costa Rica this past June 2018...Hopefully like me, you'll be delighted by her effervescent love of movement, nature, and all people!
Michelle clearly stands out with her beautiful and bright energy. I love how her practice and teaching encompass body, mind and spirit. She not only teaches yoga but lives and exudes it.
Michelle not only teaches 'yoga', she embodies it fully with her heart and soul...
Michelle is by far one of the best instructors I've ever had, period. Patient, clear in her explanations and demos, and so encouraging...
My first yoga class was with Michelle years ago. You can have the best (yoga pose) sequence and not teach from your heart. With Michelle, I also feel her passion when I'm in her class. I can see she loves what she does, and she inspired me to want to teach yoga, too.
I'm so grateful to have met Michelle! Her kind energy opened up my interest in pursuing yoga and meditation. She is such an incredibly light and soul. She starts with grounding ourselves through mindfulness and breathing exercise. She brings the most authentic energy to the class by sharing the history and understanding behind poses, names, and techniques. I truly appreciate her work and impact on my well-being!
I’ve had dozens of instructors over the years, but Michelle is far and away the best yoga mentor I’ve ever practiced with. She epitomizes grace during these difficult times. Michelle has saved my sanity and my back while working from home, keeping me grounded with her sharing of yogic teachings and meditation techniques. Her repertoire of physical asanas is encyclopedic, and I’ve loved learning new poses and stretching my boundaries. Jump in, all. You’ve got this!
©2010 Root 2 Rise Yoga