This is my heartfelt love letter to you. It’s been an honor and a privilege to lead your yoga practice over the last few years. Many of you have become so dear to me and it humbles me to know that in some way I’ve been of service to you. What has always been at the core of my teaching has been a heartfelt connection to self, a coming back to self-love and self-realization. You’ve heard me repeat many times, connect to your heart center, connect to what’s true in your heart, connect to the space within you that’s pure, love, patience, compassion and kindness. Throughout the practice, be kind and patient with yourself. I also love to close the practice by saying, take this practice with you, use it, make it a part of your daily lives and share it with those around you.
Yogis, what I want you to know is that those are more than just words. It’s what I’ve experienced myself when I began living my yoga practice. There’s a lovely quote that I truly connect with from Sharon Gannon, “You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state.”
I didn’t always know this but after I opened my heart and mind, I realized that this is true. At first, you may believe that yoga is something that you grunt and sweat through; you push and force your way through, something purely physical. After some time, you may begin to notice that you have become more comfortable with the uncomfortable, more graceful and supple, gracious and grateful. You may start to feel the subtle beauty and nuances in your postures. You feel stronger and more capable. Then there may come a time when you lose it on your mat, you want to curl into a ball and cry. You may feel like you’re too open and vulnerable. All of these experiences are unique and at the same time universal.
There’s a beauty that comes with the discomfort, the challenge and the commitment. You may begin to realize that yoga is your natural state. It may begin with the body, then the mind and then the spirit. Not always in that order. There’s no right or wrong. You receive what you’re open to receive.
I’m constantly practicing. In line to pick up a few groceries, I catch myself silently repeating a calming thought to remind myself to be patient. Sometimes, I notice myself growing anxious over an upcoming commitment and I remind myself to breathe. When I’m driving, I’ll often want to rush and get around other cars to get where I’m going and again I’ll remind myself to slow down. Many times, I’ll fixate on a “problem” however small rather than enjoy the moment and the ones that I’m with. I remind myself to listen, to take in, to enjoy, and to live my practice. When I want to be hard on myself or overanalyze what I’ve said or done, I remind myself to be kind and understanding with myself. This is my practice.
I have only shared with you what I’ve been so honored to experience. As I’ve learned, I’ve passed it on in my own way. I’m so grateful to have been able to hold the space for each of you as you’ve practiced. I’m so honored to have had your trust and that you have freely opened up to me about your experiences on and off your mats. What I have learned from all of you cannot be put into a few words. I’ve grown and learned that at the core of who we all are is pure love. I’ve felt that in every smile, kind word, hug and moment that we’ve shared. Love.
My heartfelt wish for all of you is that you continue your practice on and off the mat. Take what has resonated with you, the tools that you’ve gathered as part of your yoga practice and use them in your daily lives. Continue to grow and learn and connect with your heart, your true essence. I’m moving on from this space and Tuesday will be my final class at IBY. The connections and bonds that I share with all of you transcend any physical place.
My spiritual path and personal growth leads me to continue learning and sharing my experiences in other ways. I’m currently working on fundraising for Warriors for Healing, a non-profit providing free yoga and resources to veterans, active duty military service members and their families. This is a cause dear to me as many of you already know that my husband, Frank, has been serving the U.S. Navy for over 20 years. I’ll also be volunteering my services as a yoga teacher for the military and vets.
Besides teaching, another one of greatest passions has always been writing and I’m so happy to reconnect with it. I’ve created a new website, www.lavidayogaconkarla.com, a space for me to blog and share my personal experiences and self-reflection that has come about from living my yoga.
I look forward to connecting with you again. We’ll be bumping into each other at the beach or around town and if we do, please don’t hesitate to come over and give me a big bear hug.
Love, love, love,
I’d love your support on my mission to raise funds for Warriors for Healing. Please share with your family and friends. Here’s the link: https://www.crowdrise.com/yogaconkarla/fundraiser/karlarodas
Fundraising Yoga Class to Benefit Warriors for Healing
Saturday, May 16 at 9 a.m. on the grass at Pier Plaza
Suggested donation is $15