lisa sochockiI started yoga when I was 15, and until recently I never really understood the idea of bondage and how labels could obstruct my asana practice.

At 13 I started surfing, but it wasn’t until I was 18 that I actually started taking my surfing seriously. By 18 I had labeled myself as an avid “surfer chick” and somehow with that label I gravitated towards certain thoughts about myself. For example, even though I had always been girly…I had a tomboy edge.

I also decided that I had a very strong back and wide shoulders…And with that notion I had then labeled myself as having tight shoulder muscles from surfing. With yoga poses I was certain that since I was a “surfer” and had such strong upper body strength, I could do handstands and arm balances, and so it was. Forearm balance, handstands, arm balance galore…I gravitate towards classes where I could show off my strength and taught my classes encouraging others to fly like me.

Although physically I could lift myself onto just my hands, eternally I was chained. My labels had created bondage to this next coating of who I thought I was in my asana practice.  Meanwhile my shoulders, back, and heart were being neglected.

My spirit called for change, so I listened. As I sought guidance I came across this quote in Jivamukti Yoga, by Sharon Gannon and David Life:

We have built a personality from all our preferences. We get stuck in our likes and dislikes, and in our short-lived pleasures and disappointments. We carry them with us in the very way we move and hold our bodies. Meditation practice allows these patterns to surface so that we can let them go, allowing for a transformation of personality. Letting go of old ways allows us to become open and flexible and not hold on to a rigid sense of self.”

When we study the self we come to realize that our entire life has been based upon our ideas and thoughts of who we are or who we are not. All our actions are a result of these false ideas. Instead we should strive to be open to all possibilities. Of course, some of these ideas are important as they help us act in this play of life. But what confines are you putting on yourself that creates limitations?

Intrigued, I started to meditate on this and what it meant to me in relationship to all my labels. It quickly became clear that it was time to break the bondage and open to grace.

I had always admired in awe King Pigeon pose, a very difficult back bend that seemed to require extreme flexibility, but because of my preconceived label of being tight shouldered, I never thought it possible.

Yoga Glo had a class with Elena Bower on this particular pose and so I figured I had nothing to lose. Elena said breath from the pelvic bowl, she talked about being open to possibility, having faith, and being limitless. The next thing I knew we were together in a pose I never dreamed I could do.  I wasn’t even sure how I had got there; I was too present to care. There were no thoughts, no labels, no limitations. This was what it meant to let go.

That day with Elena in King Pigeon pose, my head was back, my eyes to the sky, my foot resting on my head, my back and shoulders were screaming THANK YOU, and suddenly my mind went blank. My words do little to explain the ecstasy of that moment, of that blissful state… I came out of the pose and muttered to the floor. I am boundless, limitless and one, grace is my attire. These words were new understanding. I had broken the barrier. It felt like a hole had been drilled to my true soul and the light was shining through all the layers. I imagine my spirit at the bottom of the well and someone had taken off the top and it could now see the sun.

Today my practice and self recognizes its immeasurable potential… I surf, but I am not a surfer; I practice yoga asana, but I am not the arm balance queen…

I hope my experience helps you on your journey.

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Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Lisa Sochocki from Haleiwa, Hawaii.  Her motto is, “Be the light, to light the world.” Lisa’s motto runs true to her actions and spirit, living the life of a yogini filled with love and abundance. With 17 years of yoga experience and 11 years as a devoted Yoga Instructor, Lisa decided to make spreading yoga not only her passion, but her full-time job. Lisa is the Owner of Yoga Loft Hawaii  and Hawaii School of Yoga, where she spends her days diffusing yoga love into the Oahu community.

Visit Lisa’s website at YogaLoftHawaii.comHawaiiSchoolOfYoga.com read her Tumblr Blog, or connect with her via Facebook and Instagram.

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