A lot has happened since my last post. A cousin of mine was shot. The murder of George Floyd, the civil unrest, and the riots that followed. My mother tested positive for COVID-19 and was hospitalized. We lost Chadwick Boeman to cancer, long live King T’Challa. There were land defenders protecting paha sapa, the Black Hills during the Sturgis Rally. Trump and his supporters showed up in Bemidji, my hometown. And now, a seat has opened that Republicans are lunging towards with the recent passing of RBG. That is all heavy. Through all of it, I still have to work. I still have to show up for myself and my family. I still have to be a parent and be there for my child. I still have to support my husband in pursuing his Ph.D.
I will come back to my reflections on everything that has happened since June in a separate post at a later time. Right now, I’m working very hard to be present and focus my energies on what I can control. Being grounded is something that I have complete control over. I have found myself praying and singing in our language, and being outside a lot more since we have had to quarantine and work from home. Starting my day out with prayer, smudging, and our language has been my saving grace. It has kept me sane. And I am forever grateful for our ancestors who have passed on the traditions, language, and songs of our beautiful way of life.
So now, you’re probably wondering when I’m going to get to the topic of this post. I felt it necessary to share briefly all of the things that have happened since I updated my blog and since I last wrote. I had plans to write a blog post each month. Along with some journaling prompts. That didn’t happen because I was overwhelmed. I didn’t have the energy or heart to write about the pain I was feeling. I was just trying to work through the pain, process it, and let go of it. Even with grounding through our prayers, songs, smudging, walking outside barefoot, I found myself in a place of constant worry and overwhelm.
I started working out consistently again doing kettlebell workouts at home. That helped me get through one month. It made me feel energized and like myself again. But the pattern of highs and lows since this year started gives me reason to look for a routine and ways to further ground myself, cope with the overwhelm and lessen the stress or pain of things I cannot control.
Why I’m doing Yoga Teacher Training
Now to the topic of this post! When I had come across yoga teacher trainings being offered online, I thought that it would be an opportune time to do this type of training. I have been thinking about entrepreneurial models and endeavors since this pandemic hit. With keeping my son home and working from home, I want to make sure that I am able to give my son quality time and attention that he deserves, but still have a way to provide for our family. Right now, I am doing that for the most part. However, several days if not weeks, my son is angry with me because I am working and not spending time with him. Especially in the mornings. And it breaks my heart.
I get emotional. I also get angry. And trying to explain what is going on in the world to a four year old gets to be pretty heavy. If not for him, for me. During this time of being able to work from home though, I have had the opportunity to learn more about myself, postpartum care (miigwech Raeanne) and reflect on my time of being pregnant. I was so stressed out. And rightfully so.
If you followed my old blog, you might remember how many things I was doing or what I was trying to do. And how I had some support, but felt like I didn’t have a lot in my workplace. I felt alone in my goals to breastfeed my son. I was drained from working full time and nursing full time. I was always worried about my own safety when it was just me and my son driving around town. I was even worried about my own safety in my apartment. I had moved twice during my pregnancy. I had some trauma in the delivery room that I did not write too much about in Chapter One because it still haunts me.
So when my dear friend, colleague, sis, Apryl, invited me to a yoga class from a local studio she found, I wanted to go. She invited me a few times but it didn’t work out because of my schedule after working at the office, picking up Bubba and Jake, going home, walking the dog, eating dinner, etc. I found a gym close to me that offered some yoga classes and it motivated me to get back into a physical routine of working out again. I would use my time in sivasana to meditate, and bring myself back to a vision I had with my grandpa and my great, great, great, great, cookums. I would use the last few moments of the practice to give internal thanks to the love that my son has and how much that fills my heart. Pretty sure I wiped tears from my eyes at the end of each practice.
Soon enough, I was able to meet up with Apryl on a weekend to go to the studio she came across. Some of you twin city locals might know this one, 612 Jungle. And I highly recommend checking them out and/or donating to their studio. I had been to their studio only twice, and it made such a huge impact on me. I felt so comfortable there. The words that they used to motivate you. Remind you of your energy. Your power. I can hardly put it into words. It was empowering. I left feeling extremely good and wished that I lived closer so I could take more classes.
Once the pandemic came, they were making their classes accessible by virtual means, joining when I was able to. I remember in the month of June, I finally was able to attend a virtual class and it was the week after the murder of George Floyd. I have so many emotions still and probably will for the rest of my life about that. I remember being on my yoga mat and I don’t recall exactly what was said, but it brought tears to my eyes. I ended up being in a position for the rest of the practice in my own pool of tears. And then, I felt like I was a part of a community working on self healing, taking it that step further beyond self-care. Yoga is a way of life. It extends beyond what you do on your yoga mat. This practice coupled with my culture, has helped me to fully understand what I imagine, our ancestors felt like when everything was beautiful.
I’m sharing these experiences to give context to why I feel yoga is something I wanted to learn more about. I didn’t come into this practice for just the movements of the body. I came to this practice for the benefits of the mind and the breathing. It has made a positive impact on my health, as you know from previous posts, I have anxiety. Adding this practice to my daily life and other cultural practices has truly been beneficial for my overall wellness. I believe, because this practice comes from indigenous people, and I understand my own indigenous roots, history, and culture, I want to share this practice as another source of self-healing with my community. With mothers and families I may work with as a doula. With those who need it in times of stress, overwhelm, chaos, and in times of happiness and gratitude. Just as I have needed it.
I found some online yoga trainings that I wasn’t quite sure about and reached out to a few yoga instructors I knew of- Gabrielle Roberts of 612Jungle, Zach Packineau, and Victoria of Indigenous Lotus. They all had such great recommendations. Gabrielle even mentioned that this fall they would be having a Yoga Teacher Training. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity and it feels right. I signed up not sure if the classes would be outside to social distance or all online to keep people safe in this pandemic. I have so far taken the classes online because it’s a hybrid class, I hope to do some of the classes in person. After the first day of meeting everyone, I knew I had come to a place where I could be a part of a community that is for the community. I also think I cried like 20 times! I’m an empath and that will never change. I am excited for this journey with my fellow cohort members and to connect with other indigenous yoga instructors.
Anything I do, I always want to make sure that I’m doing it in a good way. I want to make sure that I’m sharing knowledge, information, and practices in a way that does not take, exploit, or benefit me. And this is a practice that is similar to my own culture and way of life, and I will take care of it and share it as such. I’m going to share some of my insights and learnings as I go through Yoga Teacher Training with 612Jungle.
I encourage you to listen to do the following if you practice yoga or are thinking about this practice:
Start by learning more about your cultural roots, history, and wellness practices.
Checkout the list of podcasts below and other resources
Think about how you can not only give back to communities that are still rising from generational trauma and cultural genocide, but if you practice yoga, to think about the roots of the practice.