Selena Isles Yoga – Where I’m from
Many years ago I came to yoga as you know because of traumatic injury that ended my athletic career. Prior to that I used to think yoga something my mom and elders did to keep cool, calm and collected in the face of us children. I went from rising track star to injured athletic “has been”. I spiralled into self despair, depression and negative connotations, losing scholarships, friends and everything that I “thought” I was.
However this forced me to rewrite my whole story, and what I had believed to be true of myself. In essence before Brene Brown coined the term I had to lean into the hard stuff and touch the face of vulnerability. I found Buddhism (again) around this time and it lifted me out slowly, I vowed at 19, to commit myself to some sort of path. When I finally got to Thailand with no “real” yoga practice other than the asana and meditation I practiced at home with my mom a devote Geeta Iyengar student and meditator, I was like a fish out of water for the first time. I had to learn to lean in again and be vulnerable – this would be the first of many times.
My time spent with the monks on Wat Suan Moh threw my connotations out the window as we practiced NO ASANA for the first year only mediation, silence and Karma/Bhakti yoga. This dismantled me from the inside out – meditation or hours of it on the cold floor did the rest. When we did touch asana I was astounded at the simplicity the practice, I learned the original 84 asana that Shiva stated were “appropriate” for men to learn in this age. For years I was a Nath Hatha acolyte. I believed stillness would uncover everything there was to know and so I practiced this asana according to the Hatha tenants, as well as meditation in silence and stillness; until I could no longer trace the lines of fluidity in the stillness. It was around that time that I started to link the poses to breath, and practice Ashtanga Vinyasa, then I really began to see the microcosm in the macro and vice versa.
I thought to myself and questioned my teachers many times over as to ”why can we not have a practice that integrates both movement and stillness, alignment and precision with breath and flow”. Many raised eyebrows, and years later I developed my style that integrates the breath based flow of Ashtanga and the precision of Iyengar into a deep, sweaty and integrative mind/body experience, all the while dropping ancient texts and wisdom, using urban vernacular.
And that is the simple secret to my practice finding the threads or sutras of the macrocosm and bringing it to everyone. I believe strongly in yoga for everybody and all bodies, and so my practices develop and emanate from this place of stillness juxtaposed against movement and meditation. Being a single mother, and international DJ touring and teaching all year round I am in deep need of my yoga practice; it healed my broken body and mind two decades ago and now keeps my soul intact on a daily basis.