Living Yoga Immersion – A Look Back by Caitlin Steiger
“The moment we start breeding the qualities we wish to attain through mindful awareness, we will see our world in a different light, as those on the outside will feel those qualities shining through. In time, we will become what we always were- our true self.” – Caitlin Steiger
I never imagined that I would be in this place. This place where I can find calm, acceptance and contentment from within. I was always very reserved, self-conscious, judgmental and anxious. I could never speak in front of a crowd, let alone share my emotions with others. My relationship with yoga began in 2006 with Bikram as a means of physical activity. However, just last year I stumbled upon Pilgrimage and ever since my very first meditation class, my life started unfolding in ways I never expected. My views changed, not just of the outside world, but my perception of myself. The most significant changes took place this past January when I took Sarah Clark’s New Years Immersion. I signed up for the immersion with the intention of deepening my personal practice. It ended up being so much more than just that.
I had been in a 6-year relationship with someone I thought I would be with forever, but in January that all changed. He was the reason, or so I thought, the reason I was in San Diego. I constantly reflected on the past, talked about the future and somehow forgot about the present; I lost sight of what was happening in our relationship. Learning about the 8 limbs of yoga, especially the yamas, helped me get through this difficult time. A few deep breaths, a moment to acknowledge the thoughts that arose, and finally there was a sense of clarity. I was able to put into practice what Sarah had taught me about the yamas. I can now apply what I learned on the mat in my daily life.
Aparigraha, the 5th yama meaning non-attachment, has helped me in so many areas of my life. I hadn’t realized until the immersion how attached I was to external influences to make myself feel whole: my family, friends, the past. I learned to let go of the things that held me back from being me. I learned to put aside my preconceived notions and expectations and connected with my already full and complete self; the me that was and is already enough.
The New Year’s Immersion gave me a new sense of self and taught me how to manage many areas of my life that I used to struggle with. I realized that I wasn’t in San Diego for anyone but myself. This had become my home because I wanted it to be. I had been so comfortable with making decisions that would please others, and rarely took a step back to think about what I really wanted. Throughout the immersion, and months following, I began to notice sensations in my body when confronted with a given situation and I have been following my intuition ever since, which led me to the next step in my yoga journey.
I ended up registering for the 200-hour Teacher Training at Pilgrimage knowing that yoga had changed my life and I wanted to share that with others. I was able to reconnect with the person I always was but had lost in an effort to please others. I used to be a writer, and somewhere over the past few years I lost that inspiration. As my yoga practice deepened and meditation became more easeful, my creativity awakened and I started to write again. The immersion did more than just deepen my asana practice; it gave me the tools to start living the life I wanted. I never imagined I would be in this place, but after taking the immersion and pursuing my 200-hr training, I am finally living the fullest expression of me.