Once upon a time, I crossed an ocean to move to a foreign land. It was September 1999, and I was only 21 years old. I thought flying away from Spain would resolve my inner turmoil. I was searching for some kind of solace, from work, from day to day life; at that time I did not understand that to address the inner turmoil, I had to first work on myself – to find peace within, not without.
I met my soulmate Eduard in New York City. I was really lost, and he encouraged me to find myself. In my searching, I realized that the career I had prepared for (hotel management) didn’t fulfill me, and never could. On top of that, I was weighed down by emotional baggage from childhood and had trouble valuing myself.
“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” Buddha
My life began to shift when I found Yoga, thanks to my friend Maika, who literally pushed me past my preconceived notions of what Yoga is, and into my first yoga class, in the Ashtanga style. I was amazed at how good I felt after the class.
Back then Yoga was only a physical exercise for me. I had never been flexible, not even as a child. At 22, I was very far from reaching my toes, but because I started attending Yoga classes at least 3 times a week, I witnessed the progress. Little by little my body was becoming flexible and I learned how to breathe.
Discovering the true Yoga
A few months later, I found Ranjitha, a Yoga teacher whose classes included meditation, breathing techniques, dharma, and asanas. I had discovered a whole new world! She introduced me to the most beautiful realms of Yoga. I started feeling a deep transformation within. Not only was my body more flexible but also my view of the world.
It was Ranjitha who encouraged me to take up a Yoga teacher’s training program. I gladly accepted but what I didn’t know then is that Yoga would become my path. In 2003 I got my teacher certification.
“As we journey inward, we reflect our light outward.” Baron Baptiste
Yoga allowed me to go deep within, to a world I never knew existed but that always existed, within me. I peeled away layers of my past life, of conditioning, and self-blockages, and discovered that the peace, love, and contentment I sought had always been there. I became aware of the truth that whatever I had had to face in my life – pleasant or unpleasant, it was all there for me as a blessing. It was something that I could transcend and look for the true light within.
Yoga as a daily medicine
I soon started teaching Vinyasa Yoga, and I always include breathing techniques and meditation in my classes. As we evolve in life, so does our Yoga practice. I eventually got certified to teach Therapeutic yoga, gentle, and Yin Yoga.
The best part about these practices is that they allow me to teach some dharma during class. While people hold the poses, I like to talk about spirituality, life, and ways to connect with our higher self. Over the years I have found that people crave this truth. They have many ways and places that they can exercise, but what they really desire is ways to transcend their physical and emotional pain.
Today, Yoga is part of my daily life, and it has become my daily medicine. I would encourage everyone to find a style of Yoga and a teacher that touches their soul and practice as often as possible.
“Yoga takes you to the present moment. The only place where life exists.”
In fact, Yoga can be practiced all day long: as you move through your day be mindful and fully present. This is Yoga. The mind will come to test you, either by taking you back to the past, or by making you think too much about the future, but you have the option to choose not to engage with what comes in the mind. Then the thoughts lose power and they do not leave an imprint in your consciousness.
This is the best advice that I can give you and it has worked for me. Only use your mind for your work, math, and daily life, but do not engage with the mind in its psychological manifestation, the one that is full of judgments, conditioning, and worries.
I continued to explore various styles of Yoga and their ability to heal and in 2016, I tried my first Sound Healing session with Tibetan singing bowls. I was blown away by them! They helped me immensely to continue the process that I had started with Yoga. They helped me regain my confidence and my voice.
Sound healing has enabled me to speak up, share my truth, and believe in myself. Even though insecurities sometimes knock at the door, and I am still working on letting go of fear, the road is so much smoother, and joy springs out from within. Sound Healing has given me the strength to promise myself that from now on, even when what I label as ‘adversity’ hits me, I will take it as a stepping-stone towards what lies ahead. I now see adversity as another opportunity to grow and to recognize that which I truly am.
Spreading the joy
I became a sound healing practitioner in 2017. I am now offering individual and group Sound Healing sessions. I am so grateful to be able to offer such beautiful practices with the world: Yoga and Sound Healing. I will soon start offering Yoga and Sound Healing retreats abroad. The first retreat will be in Europe in the spring of 2020. I love traveling and would love to conduct similar retreats in Asia and other continents.
I am forever grateful for all the teachings and guidance of the healers, masters, teachers, and gurus that I have met along the way. Without them I couldn’t have looked in the right direction; without them, I would still be stuck in the past, with lots of anxiety.
I believe that when you open up to healing, the Master appears. When you open up to life, you start attracting the right people: like-minded souls who are on the same journey. You attract inspiring souls that guide you and encourage you along the way. At the same time, the people that are not meant to be next to you, that don’t belong to that “New You,” start disappearing from your life, very gracefully, almost like magic!
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” Rumi
I am 40 years old turning 41 in July, and there is no other age I would rather be. I have never in my life felt so radiant, so full of life and joy. Stories of the past keep coming to the light – episodes that were blocked by my mind but were in my subconscious mind and energetic body. But I am not afraid anymore. It is as if they come to the surface for me to acknowledge them and let them out; my True Self is free, has always been Free.
From our wounds, beautiful flowers can emerge.
May you all find the peace, love, and light that you are.
OM SHANTI, SHANTI, SHANTI. OM PEACE, PEACE, PEACE.
Judit Duran, New Jersey, USA
Yoga Teacher, Sound Healing Practitioner