By Kelsey
“The world spins madly on”

In our training this past month we had a workshop on creating your on mantras to share with people. We explored ways on how your mantra can feed into your class, and help determine what asanas to incorporate. The mantra is an offering to the class, it may resonate with someone, it may not.

I was asked to create a mantra inspired by the Aya Adinkra symbol, also known as “Fern”. Aya is a symbol of endurance and defiance in the face of difficulties. With that in mind, we were invited to think about our own personal experiences and develop a mantra that we might use in a class that encompasses the elements of our symbol.

I thought about depression and the endurance and strength it takes to overcome the adversities that come with the mental disease. At first it can feel like the endurance needed is to keep up with the rest of the world. We all know that regardless of our personal hardships, the world spins madly on. It can feel like we need to hang on for dear life in those moment, and do what’s needed just to get through the days. I’ve learned through my own journey that the endurance is rather rooted in patience. It takes a great deal of strength and patience to “lean in” to your depression and meet and greet it like a new friend. It takes tremendous endurance to continue to give yourself that time and space when the world spins madly on.

It was interesting how the Adinkra symbol I was assigned actually fit my personal story quite well — linking my own growth with the endurance and resourcefulness as the fern. From there, we thought about the playlist we would build for a yoga class centred around the mantras we created, and what our flow might be, what poses would echo the overall message. I thought about how my flow might start at a faster tempo symbolizing how life continues no matter what, and then I would transition into poses that require you to gaze inwards. In this portion of the class I would queue deep stretching poses to symbolize the internal endurance that is requires when we meet and greet discomfort, reminding us to give those parts of us that we would other wise suppress or ignore the proper attention in order to heal.

I love that yoga is a practice that values intention, we all come back to our mats for varying reasons, but those set intentions are so essential. For me, offering a mantra at the beginning of a practice invites vulnerability into that space, encouraging students to be authentic, take risks, and set a positive intention before starting the flow. My goal is to bring that habit into my life, off the mat.

These days, I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. I have been away from home (Canada) for almost a year, and I am reaching the end of my placement, here in Accra. There is a bittersweet feeling about the phase that I am in now, I am excited to go home and hug my sisters, but I am sad to leave the life I have started here.   I enjoy the work that I do here, I love coming to Bliss and continuing to deepen my practice, I will miss connecting with youth in Accra and learning about their journeys. With the end of this chapter in sight, I can feel myself getting lost in the future, and trying to plan for events that I may or may not be able to prepare for.

So, in this moment, I would like to offer you..

The world spins madly on, but you, you do not have to.

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