AWAKENING TO OUR HIGHEST POTENTIAL
We all begin our life’s journey
at the moment of birth but the time in which I mark the beginning of my journey into wholeness began in the fall of 2006. I was living in Colorado and had come home to Virginia for the holidays. For a reason unknown to me at the time, I never went back. My life had been spinning aimlessly without direction or meaning, with what felt like forever, and the ride I was on began to feel precarious and dangerous. I had been pushed to the edge over the short course of nine months where I endured the loss of three family members, three pets, a long-term relationship, a new home, countless friendships, my job and undergone surgery, not to mention all the in between hardships that goes in hand with death, deception, family alcoholism, heartbreak, illness and forced career change. The confusion, pain and inability to process my grief fully, set me on a path most take in their youth, full of late nights, partying and innumerable stories filled with excess and drama that accompany a lifestyle rooted in alcohol and drugs.
Gratefully, I had reached my saturation point after only a few years where, I no longer could stomach the nauseating effects of living a life without heart, without purpose or honoring my true nature. Over the course of the next four years I dove headfirst into learning about Truth principles as they relate to spiritual evolution and the expression of divine potential through forgiveness work, mental and emotional healing, prayer and meditation. I found a loving and supportive spiritual community in Charlottesville, Virginia. With their support, I developed the courage to tear down a foundation that was weakened by a faulty belief system rooted in fear and self-imposed limitations and learned to utilize the tools necessary to build a new foundation cemented in trust; a trust not only in something greater than myself, but a deep trust in my intuition to guide me and my abilities to create a life of my own design and not one of default.
MY YOGA JOURNEY
Yoga came into my life as a natural extension of this work. Yoga is derived from a Sanskrit word that means yoke or union. Through the practice of all aspects of yoga we join the individual self with the Divine, Universal Spirit, or Cosmic Consciousness. Yet, I began my yoga journey as many do in the west, as another form of physical activity. As an athlete throughout most of my life, I had sustained numerous physical injuries and I was living with reoccurring pain from old injuries. A friend suggested that I try yoga. At the time I knew very little about yoga but traditional physical therapy methods had left me without relief therefore I was willing to try something new. Within months of practice, I had less pain and my athletic performance improved. Over time, I noticed a stirring within me, a magnetic craving of sorts, to learn more about this yoga. I became yoga curious. And thus it began, a total exploration of various forms of yoga and yogic philosophy. I began to understand that yoga was so much more than a sequence of postures and how seamlessly it blended into the spiritual practices I had already been studying.
FOLLOWING A HEART INTUITION
Within a year I was committed to following a heart intuition into the jungles of Costa Rica where I spent a month at the Nosara Yoga Institute under the guidance and tutelage of Don and Amba Stapleton, exploring an integrated style of Vinyasa yoga created by Don and Amba called Self Awakening Yoga. It is here where I experienced one of the most profoundly transformative times of my life. To spend a month immersed in the jungle, practicing yoga 3 times a day, unable to hide, self-medicate or flee, was a blessing. The experience created a habit of daily yoga and meditation that has never left me. It softened my competitive ego and taught me to see myself as my own best friend, without judgment or criticism but instead with love and compassion.
REWRITING MY STORY
If you practice yoga long enough, you’ll eventually hear a famous quote, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” It wasn’t until I met my current teacher, Yogarupa Rod Stryker, that I learned this is a mis-translation. The correct translation is, “When the student is prepared, the teacher will appear.”
I’d been teaching yoga for 7 years when challenging circumstances of my life led me to study with Yogarupa for the first time. More honestly, I was fleeing heartache, when I arrived New Year’s Eve 2014, at the Himalayan Institute. I needed a sanctuary to mend the wounds of loss and hide from the loneliness of a New Year.
What I found was unexpected. I found my teacher. I discovered an unbroken lineage of Yoga that has enabled me to rediscover the Sacred within, to deeply trust that I am supported, and to have the courage to dive into unknown depths and surface renewed. In 2017, I took another plunge, and was honored to be initiated into the Sri Vidya lineage by Yogarupa Rod Stryker. In hindsight, I see that the previous years were simply preparation for this new path where I’d become aligned more fully with my purpose, become stronger and more resilient, and yet again, Rewrite My Story.
The process of letting go of a past way of living, thinking and believing, how to exist without fear and negative thinking was an arduous journey that, to this day, requires daily attention and practice. However, the daily maintenance is easy compared to living a life in fear, doubt and scarcity consciousness. To be liberated is to be freed from the constructs of mind, to be connected to the Divine and to dive fully into life despite circumstances.
Studies & Creds
B.A., Environmental Science, University of Virginia
RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) – Nosara Yoga Institute
Yoga Anatomy – Yoga International & Yoga Medicine
ParaYoga Nidra Teacher – Yogarupa Rod Stryker & ParaYoga
Sri Vidya Tantra Meditation Teacher – Tracee Stanley
NASM Personal Trainer
NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist
PSYCH-K®- PSYCH-K®Centre International
Foundational & Therapeutic Thai Yoga Bodywork Massage
Reiki Level 1 – Kiki Hocking
~Diane Gregory, Charlottesville, VA