I was 16 years into my practice when I found myself crying profusely in Savasana (Corpse Pose). Lying in this vulnerable posture during my beloved teacher Tracee Stanley’s yoga nidra immersion, I realized I had been treating myself as an enemy. Something happened during this specific Corpse Pose—one of hundreds I’d practiced by this point—that offered a glimpse of surrender, peace, and acceptance. Enveloped in stillness and silence, I noticed that for once, I was not trying to control, critique, or compare myself, and I became acutely aware that I had been missing self-love and compassion: that I did not know how to love myself fully. It was the depth and nurturing that I encountered through yoga nidra that gave me the strength to face the truth and acknowledge the parts of myself that I had been denying, such as my needs for rest and to be taken care of and held.
As I lay there, Tracee’s words moved into every fiber of my body: “We cannot teach what we do not practice,” she said. This statement prompted me to ask myself hard questions: How can I teach my yoga students how to practice compassion with their bodies if I am not accepting all of the parts that make up mine? How can I expect my yoga students to trust me if I dismiss, and lack trust for, the parts of myself that want to be seen?