Most of you know that while I do a lot of different things from day to day, my main gig is being a spoken word poet. I travel around the country to churches, colleges, festivals, conferences, coffee shops and more, performing my poetry and leading creative writing workshops that help people access their feelings and experiences and express them through poetry.
If you’ve been to one of my shows or workshops in the last 18 months or so, you may have noticed that we usually close our time together with a period of questions, responses, and group processing of what we all just experienced together. I first thought of this as kind of emotional “digestion,” but what I have learned is that it’s really just one step in the process of healing through art.
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that in the last 18 months I also started practicing yoga. It began as an anxiety management technique for me, but quickly evolved into something so much more. I started incorporating the principles I was learning through my practice of yoga not just into my personal life, but into my art and teaching as well. It quickly changed how I conceived of what I did when I traveled. Rather than thinking of myself as a bridge-burning nomad, showing up to perform my art and then leaving, I began to think of myself as a space-holder: using art, specifically poetry, as a vehicle to wedge open space for people and hold it open, allowing them to do their own sacred work in those moments and begin to ask the questions that ultimatey lead to spiritual and emotional healing.
It didn’t take long for me to start wishing that I could incorporate some of the breathing, mindfulness, and embodied movement techniques that have been so life-changing to me into what I do as a creative professional. “How much better would this workshop be if we could do a restorative yoga pratice afterwords?” I would ask myself. “How cool would it be to offer my audience a guided meditation after we spent an hour talking about a lot of really hard spiritual experiences and past pain?” I had experienced first-hand how the practice of yoga had been able to facilitate healing in those ways for me, and I want to be able to share that wherever I go. The first time one of my teachers asked me if I was going to do the training I wrote it off but after the second or third teacher asked I decided to stop fighting God, The Universe and my own intuitive curiosity and sign up.
I’ll be doing my yoga teacher training through Kali Yuga Yoga, which is the studio here in Nashville that I practice at regularly. (If you want to learn more about Kali Yuga, you can check out their website here: www.kaliyugayoga.com) It is a 200-hour training program that starts in August 2017 and ends in November 2017, at the end of which I will be a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT). The cost of the training is $3,000 — a number that is not that insurmountable to a lot of people, but is a little daunting for someone who works as an artist/social work communications person/occasional caterer of barbecue/etc. I know there are SO MANY ridiculously important things to give your money to right now and always, but if you’ve ever been positively affected by what I do or you want to support me as I expand my life, art, and practice in this way, would you please considering giving a donation of any amount to my GoFundMe HERE? I’m so excited about this new chapter in my creative endeavors and I hope you’ll join me in celebrating no matter what!