#yogastory: ready to accept the challenges


ups and downs

Ups and downs… life is always full of them! I can think of plenty just in these last seven weeks. Sickness, health, injury, progress, depression, elation, confusion, clarity, exhaustion, motivation. One week you’re dwelling in negativity and the next you’re on cloud nine. Maybe nothing has even changed but your focus, your intent, your drishti. Or maybe it was just one thing that took you over the ledge, and then one thing fixed that brings you back. One week it was that my cat stopped eating for awhile and I was stressing out about it, plus my knees were hurting in every pose, and there was a huge oil spill in Santa Barbara but we’re still stuck driving our cars around and buying food in plastic bags from Trader Joe’s. There was more and more on top; negative stuff was on every level I could think of, but it really seemed to all get better once I got some different food for my cat and he started eating again. That was the catalyst. I started sitting out of the worst poses on my knees, and lightening up about human pollution; trying to focus more on the good stuff: the carpooling, the composting, the large loads of laundry and dishes in the washers. There is always plenty of good, you just have to force yourself to see it sometimes. It seems it’s a conscious choice we can make, though of course there are times when it’s difficult.


push past the negative

I guess you just have to pick your battles and focus on one thing at a time. Now my car is in the shop, it’s going to cost more to fix it than what it is worth, I have no more money, and no time to deal with it. It’s late at night on our day off and we are teaching our first full classes tomorrow, I should probably be studying, and I have no idea what the future holds for me. But there are options. And I’ve gotten to surf some while I’ve been here, eat delicious healthy food, meet wonderful people, learn about yoga, and not to mention all the other details that have made this an amazing and life-changing experience.

accept the challenges

I heard a great thing on the radio one time, I can’t remember who said it, but they were talking about karma. They said something to the effect that you can always spin your perspective on what is good karma and what is bad. It’s is easy to see a bunch of frustrating and stressful things as bad, that seems intuitive. But I think it’s much more powerful to see those things as good; maybe the universe, your higher power or what have you sees fit that you can accept the challenges and in the end become stronger, smarter, and better off for it. It seems like being sad and negative is really the easier path, though it doesn’t feel like it at the time. Sometimes it can feel like the only path. Sometimes you can just get trapped in this cycle of despair and negativity with no apparent way out. But then something usually comes along and snaps you out of it, puts you back on the upswing. That’s been my experience anyways, but maybe I’m a little more bi-polar than most. That’s alright, I’m glad to have the full experience.

putting out a higher vibration

It does seem yoga is good for the snapping out part. More often than not I leave a class feeling much better than when I entered, or at least just as good. Not to mention in preparing your body for meditation, where you can try to calm the seemingly endless mind-chatter that can lead to all of these downward spirals of negative thinking. I haven’t quite gotten there yet but I’m excited to try it more. Staying positive seems a lot more effective. It doesn’t have to mean ignorant or naive. I think it just means making that conscious choice to put out a higher vibration into the world, and I think that’s something everything can benefit from. Animals, plants, rocks, garbage dumps, everything.

I am ready

I am certainly anxious about being a yoga teacher, I think it is going to be very hard for me for a lot of reasons. But I also think I am ready to accept the challenges, and I’m very excited for whatever waits on the path ahead. I hope to see you all somewhere along the way, doing some sweet postures and meditating blissfully.

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.