Who Would You Follow to Thailand? - Kate Wolf

In November I spent ten days with Sarah Powers in Thailand, training in Insight Yoga. The focus was yin yoga and mindfulness meditation, intermingled with a healthy dose of Chinese Meridian Theory and Western psychology. Sarah has devoted her life to studying and teaching these different wisdom traditions. I first met her in London at a yin yoga workshop. Amid technology chaos she peacefully sat, emitting such calmness that the room of 60-odd people stayed utterly calm too. Now that’s power. Three hours in her presence and I was hooked; I wanted more of that! So I followed her to Thailand.

thailand

Sarah’s husband, Ty Powers, was a secret weapon on the trip, and together they really did create the perfect balance. He led us in meditation morning and evening. Of his gems of wisdom, one still stands out for me, and obviously did at the time, as I wrote in capital letters in my notebook: ‘STAY CURRENT WITH YOUR EMOTIONS’. Emotions, when we do not recreate them in our minds, last 90 seconds. Try it. Watch your emotions, with the curiosity of a child, and see how long they last. He followed up with, ‘when you’re feeling on edge, ask yourself – what am I trying to avoid feeling?’

The practice of yin yoga is essentially the practice of allowing. Of learning to meet what comes without judging it; without trying to push it away or grab on tightly. It’s about learning to live a more present and fully embodied life.

You learn to fully experience all that you are feeling, without defining yourself by that feeling.

This is here.

This is here too.

Can you greet it all?

I have found that living in this way has opened me up to experiencing far deeper emotions than I ever thought possible – extremes of joy and extremes of pain. And even during life’s painful moments – the door locked, collapsed on the bed/crouched in the bath, tears streaming down face ones – something else is now there with me at the same time. It’s almost a state of awe at just how big life is. And a knowledge, a trusting, that I’ll be OK.

Slowing down
to a quiet pace
moments of pure
empty
beauty
and sometimes
a desire to fill the moment
so the emptiness
that is not so pretty
is not felt.

Learning
to sit and watch
inside
person-watching
noticing the habits
that have built up
to build up me
and uninhabiting them
one by one
un-inhibiting
me.

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