Marichyasana D was my greatest teacher. Adjusting me in that pose was like wrangling my cat Buddha into his carrier. The pose reflected back to me some things I’d not been able to see without the challenge. It was a soul teacher and rocked me to my core. I would dread it every morning because it felt SO impossible. At first, the language I used to navigate was from the dirty underbelly of the urban dictionary. I called myself every name in the book. How could I ever sustain this pose with efficiency let alone grace?

“Get over deciding you have to suffer for it. If you want something. Go get it.” ~ Carolyn Myss

Deep down there was a pattern of suffering that I’d fallen into. It was a story I told myself from long years of struggle and I took that narrative into my adult life. Learning anything with ease felt like I was doing it wrong and if suffering wasn’t there than it simply wasn’t effective.

Ahimsa is a sub limb of Ashtanga yoga meaning do no harm. Actively projecting it outward wasn’t effective. As I grew in my yoga practice how I’d experienced life changed and so did the story I told myself. Baby yoga Malissa had a lot of work to do and she came straight from Staples with her trapper keeper and pencil box. That took courage and fortitude.

“Be careful with never. God is committed to sending you joy.” ~Carolyn Myss

I work to stay away from words like blame, deserve, and “I do.” Changing my language meant activating samsara hala hala (removing the poison of conditioned existence) beyond the physical practice I was doing in the morning. Language shapes experience and defines my relationship to the world around me. A kinder, sweeter, gentler version of myself did not mean giving up on a challenge. Actually, it meant quite the opposite.

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