#yogastory: opportunity for myself to grow


I am taking the morning off from practice because I am still a little sick and I want to get better as fast as possible, for my own sake but also very much for the others who I am living with. Though we are living in relative luxury, there are certainly still challenges which arise from sharing a space with a group of strangers. It seems illness would be inevitable at some point, and sure enough it has proven to be so. I suppose I am glad that the universe has chosen to give me an extra challenge. As with injury, it seems illness can be a great opportunity for myself to ultimately grow stronger and learn more about yourself in the process. Though slightly counter-intuitive, I would attribute the mental challenges of this training (the stress and pressure of memorization, the long hours of intimate interaction, the failure to meet expectations (self-imposed and otherwise), the personality conflicts, etc.) to what lead to my illness, more so than the obvious physical challenges and factors (which of course played their role as well). Though often my introverted nature can find itself perturbed, I also recognize the growth I am experiencing, as well as the chance to reset my old patterns in a challenging, engaging, and novel environment.


Overall I am very glad to have taken this opportunity for myself, though there is a part of me which wishes I had the self-discipline and determination to achieve this type of learning and growth on my own without spending so much time and money on a retreat type of atmosphere. There is another part of me however that recognizes this experience as falling in line with the oral tradition of yoga being passed down through the generations, and I believe it is money well spent to give myself the chance to be a part of that. If nothing else, it has to be a great kick-start towards a new, more fulfilling, and more desirable direction for my life’s path.

Three weeks in, I know I have already grown much in my practice. I have been exposed to a number of excellent teachers, who I intuitively have great respect and admiration for, and they have all been willing to try and serve us as much as possible with advice, opinions, and emotional support. With each posture we discuss I have made new connections and epiphanies, and with each passing lecture the entire picture of the human body, the spirit inside of it, and their place in the universe becomes a little clearer. Some topics being discussed seem inherently difficult, if not impossible to discuss given the limits of our human mind and language. Nevertheless I am very grateful to have the time to be exposed to them, as these mysteries have been dealt with throughout the history of humanity. The more we discuss these things (the nature of self versus Self, the nature of reality, of time, of karma, of God, of how to live a more fulfilling life, etc.), the greater sense of connection I feel to my fellow humans. As this is something I have struggled with throughout my life, I feel very grateful for the time and energy we get to spend on attempting to better understand why we are all here together and how we can make the most of it.

Now if only I could get these sinuses to clear up, I’ll be back in action!

Roger Tompkins


Roger is a gardener, a musician, and an artist currently living in Santa Cruz, CA. He is a Leo, a vegan, and a lover of science fiction. He likes living in vehicles, conservation and simplicity. He is trying to join the ranks of all the other wonderful yoga teachers around the world and is currently taking the second HotTT in Santa Barbara, California.