Spandex Guy

My first encounter with yoga came aged eighteen, courtesy of a flexible fellow in a spandex bodysuit. I don’t know what possessed me to buy that video at a car boot sale but thank goodness I did … it got me through university!

While my friends were out spreading their wings, I was lying on the floor following Spandex Guy’s strange breathing practices and yoga poses – to a space music meets disco backing track and a montage of psychedelic images.

In his company I was no longer an anxious and nervous 18-year-old; I was back to my childhood when I would lie in front of a sunlit window, soaking up the warmth, content as a replete old cat – telling my mum I was ‘vegetating’. These were standout moments. Moments of complete calm.

A Self-Destructing Teen, and Young Adult

By the time I was in my teens these moments were long forgotten – replaced by a deep sense of lack; of fear, limitation and unworthiness. I had an incredibly destructive relationship with my body; my weight seemed to fluctuate as much as my moods, and I spent a lot of time comparing myself to everyone else. Everyone else was always more beautiful, and therefore better, than me. Comparison, like a thief in the night, stole my joy.

So, Spandex Guy was a godsend. Beneath the retro glitz, that video held a truth that enabled me to discover my body as a gift through which to experience the magic of life.

As I practiced more yoga, I began to feel like I was taking mini breaks from the outside world – which, at the time, was the enemy. And those little mini breaks became addictive. I did as much yoga as I could. I tried every style. There was a time in Australia when I was doing two or three yoga classes a day. My body was open and strong. But there was a problem.

Off the mat, I was still as bonkers as ever! My mind raced with anxious thoughts and I was constantly attempting to change or fix myself in order to be happy. I had dysfunctional relationships and my heart was endlessly broken.

Looking for Answers

But that intense suffering that gave me the will to look more deeply – to find out how I could live more consistently in a state of contentment and connection – on and off the mat.

I travelled the world, searching for answers, returning home years later, disillusioned, to discover that what I had been looking for was and had always been, both metaphorically and literally, on my doorstep.

Changing My Inner Reality

I’m talking about the Ishayas; a group of monks teaching an ancient meditation technique – the Bright Path’s Ascension Meditation. A good friend introduced me to them, and I soon realised they were different; they had a purity that I hadn’t seen before and my inner reality quickly began to change.

I recognised that what I had been searching for all over the world had always been with me, in the present moment, and didn’t require anything other than a shift in my attention. It was like being reacquainted with a long-lost forgotten love.

Over the next few years, I completed a six-month Bright Path Ascension Meditation course in Spain (sometimes with my baby in tow). Now I am a yoga teacher, a transformational life coach, an Ascension Meditation teacher, and an Ishaya monk!

Over time my growing awareness has led me to a deep inner contentment. I have the freedom to choose where I put my attention – on the present moment or on thinking about past or potential problems. One choice is infinitely more peaceful than the other!

Ironically, given my love of the silent presence within, and the infinite sense of spaciousness I experience through my practice, I now enjoy the physical side of yoga more than ever. It’s because I can now bring a lightness to it – it no longer defines me – I can enjoy it for what it is. It turns out that in freeing our mind we free our body.

Passing on the Learning

I wish someone had taught me how to change the relationship with my mind many years ago. I would have avoided a lot of pain and suffering and probably saved myself a lot of money. I just want to make this as easy and seamless for everyone else as possible. And to let them know that the thoughts in their head don’t need to define them! Whether I’m teaching yoga classes, Ascension Meditation, or life coaching one to one, I always see the perfection and beauty in everyone. I work with compassion, holding a loving space for each and every person I work with, giving them the tools they need to develop their own insight, pointing them to their own truth and an understanding that their body is a gift through which to experience the magic of life.

And I try to do it all with humour. Truth be told I am a bit of a goofball; I love making fun of myself and being a bit of a goon. We all take life too seriously a lot of the time and there really is no point – after all, no one gets out alive!

I hope that you find something in my story that resonates with you. f you’d like to have a chat, please get in touch. It’s xxx (email address).

With love,
  Purya Ishaya, Purya Yoga