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  • Sarah Dionne, MSW, LICSW

This is a Story About Listening Even When it’s Hard



Having bipolar means that I must ride my waves, no amount of self care or medication completely mutes the seasons of moods. While they are mild now, I have learned to move with them, surf along their crests to the shore. Yoga helps me do this. When anxiety feels overwhelming, Yoga lifts its weight. When depression is whispering, Yoga livens my spirit. When thoughts became repetitive and grueling, the breath of Yoga eases my mind and settles me into the earth.


There are times when I simply don’t want to teach Yoga. It has saved my life on countless occasions, it is an intimate, spiritual endeavor, it is a sacred space, it is my space. Often, when I am passing through postures, riding my breath, I yearn to be in it, no need to verbalize where my hands are or the distance between my feet or what shape my back is creating. It’s internal and quiet.


What I have come to realize is that I cannot be tied into a schedule to teach Yoga because I must bend with my own spirit. On days of varying moods, I cannot expect myself to teach my saving grace, I need it there for me to experience privately. I need to be allowed to share it only when I feel it’s the right moment.


My attempts at teaching have been halfhearted not because I feel I lack the skill, rather it has to do with a deeper knowing which led to resistance of throwing in full effort. My spirit wanted Yoga as its sanctuary while my psychotherapist brain fought to open its doors to others.



There comes a time when we must all acknowledge that our spirits need what they need regardless of how it conflicts with expectations or hopes. Right now I cannot teach Yoga classes anymore. I can share the message of Yoga in various forms of media allowing me to delve into teaching when it’s right for my Spirit. No schedule. No pressure.


You may wonder why this is difficult for me; why not just say, so what, and move on? The deeper story is that I’m a healer at heart. I love to help others, I love to learn and then offer forward my knowledge and experiences. I am passionate about sharing what is curative, what will support others in shaping content lives. Naturally, I would desire to share Yoga since it has been such an intrical part of my own journey. It feels profoundly selfish to refrain from sharing it because I know its splendor. To keep something so powerful private opposes my healer self. There in lies the conflict.


Yet, there are times in our lives when we must face a frightening our internal conflicts and accept what may seem counterintuitive. I have never been able to successfully not listen to my Spirit. I don’t know about you, but attempting this has always led me into a world of pain. This has been no different, the world of pain being one of anxiety and frustration.


When we finally acknowledge our conflicts and listen without judgement, emotional and spiritual relief is soon to follow. While I do feel great relief, I also mourn letting go of something that had been an expectation and hope for so long. Still, I know my true ideal is one in which Yoga is mine and my work as a psychotherapist belongs to everyone else. Selfish or not… that’s my truth. What’s yours?



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