Last night I went to see an energy healer. I first met this woman about 5 years ago, when I moved back to Bristol after living in Oxford. I was at a low – I’d split up with my boyfriend, lost most of my friends (who it turned who were really his friends), had left a job I had worked so hard to get in an organisation I loved, and felt completely lost. It sounds overdramatic, but at the age of 28, I really felt like l had messed up, made mistakes, and that I now had nowhere left to turn.
I saw an advert for a 6 week energy healing course, and something in my encouraged me to sign up. After the first session, I walked home, with a strange feeling inside of me. What was this feeling, I wondered, unable to recognise it as first. It took a little while until it dawned on me that this was a little piece of joy. It had been so long since I had felt this feeling that I didn’t recognise it.
Looking back I see this as a pivotal turning point for me. This is when I started rebuilding my life in Bristol, a city I had always loved. I made new friends, I started practicing yoga more often, I eventually started my yoga teacher training, I started going for massages and going to the spa with friends, I went to the cinema, I went to the pub: in short I started living.
Seeing the energy healer last night was insightful. Partly because we both could see how much I had changed and partly because I am finally tackling some traumas which have been buried away in my body for a really long time but now are scurrying up to the surface, no longer able to be restrained. But also because it got me thinking: is there a right time to heal?
Practices like yoga, tai chi, mindfulness and more all stand out because they offer us ‘solutions’ to our emotional-spiritual body, as well as our physical. We come to class and leave feeling better than when we walked in – or so we think. We imagine our body will get stronger and fitter, maybe we’ll lose weight, we’ll probably feel happier, and life will be easier, right?
Wrong. These practices are powerful. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – wearing bikinis on a beach in Hawaii and posing for Instagram is a tiny, tiny part of the yoga world. Yoga is a journey of self-inquiry and if your intention is to heal, then healing will occur, but it’s not likely to be easy, and – plot spoiler coming up – it’s not always going to be fun. If you are coming to yoga simply to stretch, then be prepared that you are actually doing so much more. Forward bends, back bends, twists, inversions – they are all designed to awaken sensation in the body, to get the prana (energy) moving and shifting. If you’ve buried something deep in those hips, and you start practicing yoga regularly, let me tell you, it’s going to want to come out.
So is there a right time to start healing? The time to start healing is when you are ready - but the trick is that you might not know you’re ready, you might not even realise you need to heal, but if, like me, you find yourself being drawn to a particular yoga practice, or healing of any kind, then just do it. Don’t ignore your heart’s longings, you are being called, and you must respond. Just know that these practices, be it yoga, massage, or anything which requires you to start to connect your body, mind, soul, and breathe, are a path. Once you’re on it, it’s pretty hard to get off (don’t worry, you probably won’t want to anyway!).
Start to notice your breath right now, as you read this blog. Start to notice your surroundings. Start to wake up to the sensations in your body: how are you feeling right now? Breathe. Stretch. Yawn. Sigh. Move. Already, healing has begun.