An anniversary, a return and a mantra

It was a Monday evening, early March of 2018 and I was attending Indigo Flow for the first time. Spring was close. I only wore a jean jacket over my yoga clothes that night being grateful that the southern winter had been kinder to me than all the northern ones I had experienced before, as I was being kinder to myself than all the years before this one.

Julie and Katie had just opened their studio to the Village just days before my first class, as they welcomed the rapidly growing community on Pendleton Street and West Greenville and the areas that surrounded it while hoping to outreach to the community that had been established there before any of the new growth around it. Growth. Community. I was seeking both, looking for a safe, welcoming and inclusive place I could practice yoga. I hoped I’d start to find it at Emily’s restorative yoga class that night. I felt it as I walked through the French doors.  And found it - somewhere cocooned in a blanket wrapped up like a warm hug, my leg resting on a block in a supine twist. This was it. Emily’s voice swirled around us as she floated by us as she said “take what you need, leave the rest.” And as the tears filled my eyes and fell down my cheeks, I did.

A year later, on a Monday evening, early March just like the one exactly a year before it Indigo had just celebrated their one year birthday. Spring was in the distance but getting closer. I wore a light sweater over my yoga clothes this time and I returned to a place on a day that meant so much to me. This Monday also celebrated the return of Emily back from maternity leave. She recently took some time to spend with her sweet son Zephryn. This Monday also celebrated my return after a small hiatus from my mat. I often joked that while Emily was away on maternity leave I was so on maternity leave too. I felt some shame and guilt about taking a break from my mat in a place that brought me so much peace and joy. Some days it weighed heavy but where there is shame and guilt there is also room for grace. I gave myself some as I walked back through those French doors and as I rolled out my mat in my favorite place there was room for nothing else on it with me besides gratitude. Grateful she was back. Grateful I was back. A year of practicing together. A new year at Indigo and a new season of growth and community. Everything I had hoped for is right where I was. 

After we welcomed her back and she welcomed us with love like she always does she asked us to stand tall into mountain pose, bringing hands to heart center and focusing on a mantra for our practice, breathing in and breathing out sharing that energy word and intention with the rest of the room. I closed my eyes. Set my mantra and sent it out to the room. We then flowed. I sweat in surrender. “Take what you need,” she said as she floated familiarly around us. “Leave the rest.” I did.

Midway through our flow she asked us to come back to our mantra, our intention we had set at the beginning and with closed eyes and steadied breathe I did. Ready for it. Except this time, nothing. There was quiet. I couldn’t remember my mantra. The one that had seemed really fitting and moving at the time I set it as I started this practice there was silence instead. I stood there for a moment as everyone moved into the next pose, trying to remember what I had originally needed and a totally different mantra revealed itself instead. Loudly. As if I needed a reminder but didn’t realize I needed one.

As we laid on our mats nearing the end of our practice, in a supine twist right before shavashana. Emily dimmed the lights. The room was dark except for a small sliver of golden light that made it’s way from a crack in between those French doors. I looked where the light entered in and where it landed and it landed on me. On my mat, covering my body in a healing, effervescent glow . I looked around, the rest of the room was still dark. The light shined on me, like a warm hug I’ve felt here before. I was in the light. I was the light.

Emily then asked us to come back to our mantra, to remember it one more time.  I squeezed my eyes tight.

“DON’T GIVE UP.” My new mantra was so loud I wondered if they all heard it too. I really hope they felt it.

“Don’t give up.” I heard again. Breathe in, breathe out. Take what I need, release the rest.

I squeezed my eyes even tighter this time.  Feeling the warmth of the light on my body. My heart open full of grace and gratitude. 

I sat up with the rest of the room and slowly opened my eyes.

“Don’t give up.” I heard one last time.

And as the tears that filled my eyes fell down my cheeks, I bowed my head to heart center and responded, sealing my practice, “I won’t.”



Sarah Polite