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  • Writer's pictureChristina V. Mills


Happy. Grateful.

Peace family, it's Christina. So I am driving back to Atlanta, from Miami. And it has been a beautiful week. I'm like, I'm really glad that I went to Miami life Center a second time. Because I was just in such a different mind state, this time than I was the first time. Like, the first time, I was super stressed out over the pain I was experiencing in my back, like every Upward Facing Dog hurt, like literally every single one. So if you know anything about Ashtanga Yoga, you know, I was in a lot of pain. And I was stressed over the studio, and I felt like I had so much to prove for so many different reasons. And and so in my mind, that's just to say that when I first came to Miami Life Center, my mind was like, whoo, like, it just seems like so many things I was thinking about and so many things, I felt like I needed to prove and so many things, I needed to come and get my healing.

So I went home and obviously had like, what a month and a half, like six weeks or so close the studio, decided I'm gonna focus on the magazine recorded tons of content, really started a sitting practice where I'm like, literally just sit myself down, sit my ass down, and don't do asanas at times, and just do sitting, because that's what I realized I needed after I left Miami Life Center, I was like, Okay, I need to like really calm myself and keep up this, like pranayama practice that they taught me keep up this meditation practice that they taught me, and like, really just keep this going.

So that's just to say that coming back now, this time, this week, I was in a totally different headspace completely, because I no longer had the stress of the studio and my back, like, the pain that I was experiencing before, it's not even remotely close to that anymore. I can't say that my spine is perfect, and there's no misalignment whatsoever, everything is just angels and perfect - that's not true, you know, but I mean, like, the level of pain that I experienced before is like, from a 10 to a one. I mean, it's that it's that stark for me. That's my experience of practice. So when I'm practicing, I'm like, feeling no pain anymore, and it's remarkable. And so this week, I really got to, just enjoy practice. I just got to enjoy practice.

You know, I was planning to see Sharath next week. But you guys, I'm sure heard that he wasn't able to make it because of visa issues. And so, you know, I was really bummed about that. But I was like, you know what, this is even not saying it's better, but it was good for me to practice this week with Kino and with Tim. It was supposed to be Kino's week, but Tim came like the first couple of days. So it was actually cool that I got to practice with both of them this week. And it was just, it was good for me, I felt because there were no expectations for my practice. You know, when I first planned to come, I was going to come and you know, get myself ready, make sure that my Primary Series is perfect, and all of that. But with him not coming, then the practice really just is for myself, and so that was really beautiful that there were no expectations or anything. And so I would have probably practiced a lot more Primary. I did Primary the first day, and then I did like Second Series I worked on a little bit. And that was really cool and just having the space and time to do that. And I did primary again Friday, I didn't realize I was about to start my cycle. So I actually didn't practice today for led class. And they let me just sit in the back and I just meditated a little bit and watched a little bit. And it was nice to at least be a part of the group and to do the chant with them and be within that beautiful energy. And to even like really get to watch like some of the people like you know, there's some people in that room whom I follow on Instagram, so it's cool to just kind of really watch them you know, on some level and like really be a fan and root everybody on like, oh my God, this is amazing to witness! Like, it's amazing. It's amazing to practice. And it's amazing to witness like to witness it and just watch like 100 people maybe not 100 I don't know how many but like, I mean a roomful of people pike up into a headstand, you know, and obviously you have people in all different levels, but to see so many people at a high level, it's just gorgeous and handstanding and beautiful leg behind the head, like, there's so many things that I aspire to in that room. So to be able to just really watch them perform with such grace and like poise, I wouldn't say ease, you know, because I don't know how it feels for them to do it. But to witness the beauty of it is very inspiring.

And so I'm just really glad that even though I didn't get to practice asanas today that I practiced in my own way, you know, I practiced through sitting and through breathing, and through just, you know, I guess being. Kind of having that purusha within me being able to just witness and be present. I'm realizing that part of yoga practice, like I know, we jump around a lot and are strong and, there's so many other methods of yoga, but like, right now, in my practice, I'm really learning the art of sitting, of simply being present, of focusing on the breath. And that's it and not having to do. The art of just sitting and not doing, or the art of just existing and being, as opposed to having to feel like I have to constantly act like I used to. And I'm not saying this was a long time ago. I mean, l when I first came to Miami Life Center in February, a couple months ago, I felt like I had this like, incessantly agitated energy that felt like it always needed to be doing something like what am I doing next? What do I need to do, I need to do something, I need to always be busy. Why am I not doing anything, I need to be here, I have to be calling somebody about this. Or like there was always a feeling like things were not finished or always feeling like things were not quite done yet. And I always had some agitation, that like, is really gone. And it continues to like decrease every day. So it's not like I don't do things. I continue to work on the magazine, I continue to work on the website all week. I met with a few people this week, you know, so it was a productive week, but it was like productive. I would say even more so because it had that lack of agitated weird energy that I just really didn't know that I was so like on 10 with my stress level and my agitation until it started to dissipate. And it went to a seven and then to a five and then to a three and then I'm like yo My stress levels that like a one. And this feels great.

Something that Tim told me, it was like the last week I was here earlier this year, he was like, you know, we would do these hour long Pranayamas. And he was saying that my breath wasn't steady that I would be shaking, you know, in my practice, in simple poses, like Janu Sirsasana A where you have one leg in and one leg is straight, and you just lean forward. That posture is very simple for me. I have a pretty good forward fold, my hamstrings are pretty mobile, and my back is pretty mobile at this point. So like a forward fold, like I can get my chin on my leg. So he's like, there's no reason for you to be breathing heavily and to be shaking in a posture like that. That's coming from your mind - that's coming from some type of stress or something that you're holding on to that's making you hold on so tightly to the pose and that's not required. And so he was saying, like, pretend like you're in pranayama class. Find that long, calm breath. And, let yourself drop into that place of a very relaxed state. And for some reason, it was so hard for me to find that until he really broke that down for me. And I was like, Yo, you're right, I'm practicing with unnecessary stress like, like, I'm like adding something extra that's not even required here from myself. And once I let that go, it's like the practice is so much easier and pleasurable on some level. You don't do it just for the pleasure of it. But it's so much more enjoyable. When I'm not holding on so tightly to the ego of performing, or the pressure of like having to prove myself it's just like I'm practicing because on this inhale, I'm inhaling and on this exhale, I'm exhaling and that's it. You know, it's like, what is the next breath? And that's it. Or what is the feeling that I'm having in this posture? Oh, I have a sensation here. Okay, you know, and it's like, I can sit with that, as opposed to whatever else was swirling this agitation, and it really decreasing so much, so much, so much so much.

And so I'm just like, really grateful and happy that I was able to come back a second time and really, at this point, I'm gonna keep coming back like I'll be back definitely again this summer. I think a week at a time it's sustainable for me right now. Like for my lifestyle, I think this is sustainable. And, and I think it almost feels like a like, it just feels like it nourishes my spirit in a way that I really really need. And really, really, I feel so at home there and like I already feel like I have friends there. And I have you know, I have teachers like you know, Kino and Tim, for having 1000s of students like I just can only imagine the number of people that they've taught over the years, and they still have this like, individualized approach with every single person. I'm not, I'm literally not talking about myself, even though I am one of those people, they treat me like they know me. And I'm like, you must have like, 1000s of people that you know, and you make every single person feel like when you're with them, like when I'm with them, I feel like they totally see me that they're really listening to me. And I can tell that that's across the board that like, they make everyone feel that way. And I'm just like, I'm just like, how do you remember people, people's bodies and where they're at in their practice, and yet, somehow they do. Like, I'm just like, wow, so it just feels good to have teachers that even though I'm not with them all the time that I feel are attentive to me, when I'm there, and who I can keep progressing with the practice with, you know. Just that is a huge relief for me, to be honest, and it feels great, just to have had to have made that connection.

And so just a beautiful week, that's all I have to say like it was super relaxed. Like I said, I just worked on the magazine, met with a couple of people, worked on my website, obviously did a lot of writing and graphic stuff and, and just like feeling the energy letting this beautiful energy sink in, and I'm just super grateful. I'm just really really grateful for my for my life. I have moments when I'm stressed out and feeling down on myself, I guess everybody does. I had a day like that the other day, but ultimately, I'm I'm really wow, I'm just I'm really, I'm proud of myself, one for continuing to practice, Ashtanga Yoga, like not just practice things. I do practice other things besides Ashtanga Yoga, to be honest, at this point, I do practice like some Kundalini stuff, I've learned some Qigong stuff. And some of that is really helpful for me, I think, to incorporate. But at the end of the day, you know, I'm at five years of Ashtanga practice most days. And at one point, I had a very dedicated six days a week practice and that was for a really solid four years, and so it's strong, deep, deep within my spirit at this point.

And so I'm just really proud of myself for not giving up and for continuing to practice and working continuing to try and put the effort to come here, and just everything. I'm just really grateful for just where I'm at, and the progress that I've made by see that the effort that I've put in really is meaningful. It feels good to be five years into something into like, ask the question, like, was it worth it? Like, wasn't worth it all those days? I got up early, was it worth it in all those practices? And it's like, 100%, I can say yes. 100,000% it was worth it. Was it hard? Yes. Was it physically demanding? Yes, did it mentally, like make me feel like, you know, whoo, you know, like, I mean, yeah, all of that, you know, crying and like coming to terms with myself and all of that, but so worth it. And, you know, the seeds that you plant really do yield fruit over time. And the tree that begins to grow, it takes time. You put a seed in there, it takes a while for it to sprout. Once it sprouts, it takes a while for it to bear fruit. You know, once it even bears fruit, it takes a while for it to be rooted, and to be a really big, strong tree, you know, and I'm remembering that, you know, I'm five years in and so, I'm looking forward to my practice five years from now when I can say, I've been doing this for 10 years, and have that kind of dedicated yoga practice for 10 years. I look forward to that time.

And so you know, thinking about how much my little tree has grown now, I'm really excited to see if I continue to put in this effort, and this level of work. Now, my practices is different. I've incorporated new things. So it's not just poses now. I've learned to meditate. I've learned how to do breathwork and stuff. And so it's just going to be really exciting to see where the next five years go and take me. And so I'm just really like, coming to a place of inner peace, and that is just the realest thing I can say that the, the incessant fluctuations of my mind are continuing to relax. And the samskaras, which I would say are like the, the habits are increasingly become clearer and clearer, becoming clearer to me like my habits, my ways of being in the world are just becoming more and more clear. And I'm not saying that I've gotten rid of the samskaras or I've gotten rid of all of the thoughts. I still think, so I still have stuff to deal with. But it's just becoming clear that I can see it and it is becoming calm. So it's almost like if you're looking at like water or like something where it's just turbulent, you know, turbulence turbulent, and then it calms down. And it's like, it's still now I can ride a boat down it, or now, you know, I can see farther because the storm is gone, you know, it's just like that way. And so I just feel like I'm in a really good place. And I'm really grateful for my new my new yoga family at Miami Life Center.

And so I guess that's all I have right now. I'm gonna keep trying. And, as always, I love you guys. And I will be back in Atlanta. I'll be kind of, you know, in a few different places so catch me while I'm in Atlanta. I'm also starting to do private lessons and stuff. So if you guys need me, I'm still available. I'm just not in Atlanta as 100% of the time as I was before, but I'm still available to anybody who needs me. So if you ever want to send me a message or have a one on one session or do an event or whatever, I'm still here. And so with that, I'm going to focus on driving. I love you guys so much, and I will see you later.

Peace and pineapples!


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Peace & Pineapples!


Image by Matt Flores
Image by Erik Brolin
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