What Love Is: By Rhea Mitchell
Love can come in many forms and expressions, but there is certainly something important about extending and expanding that compassion and love upon yourself. It has been one of the greatest challenges of my life, and I continue to succeed and fail at it each day. Over time I have learned to value and forgive myself even when its hard. I learned to value my body, my intellect, my emotions, and spirit. I learned to value my life. This didn’t happen overnight but by time spent easing away from critical thoughts and instead creating space to enact a behavioral or cognitive change. It began on the mat, falling out of tree pose repeatedly during class, and eventually learning to laugh about it. Each time after practicing yoga I feel more love and compassion for myself and my life. From the mat it has expanded into my everyday where I am now learning to expand my compassion to internal peace.
Go into nature and you will find love. Not the kind of love I spoke of before, not a love of compassion and value. A love of internal peace. Where trees teach us how to be, as they are ground and content in their purpose of life simply because that’s what is. Where animals go about their lives with purpose, simply because that’s what IS. The greatest expression of love is peace, which can be found in the great workings of nature and our universe. To come to a place of deep acceptance and awareness with ourselves and everything there is too experience. Where one realizes the magic of chaos and beautiful in unison to create our lives. Time in nature is the easiest way to cultivate this awareness, and experience…
This Valentines Day week on the mat, I am encouraging my students to open their hearts, to love themselves through challenges, and to create space for change and awareness. Poses such as upward facing dog, cobra, wild thing, camel, bridge, and wheel coupled with balance challenging poses like tree or half moon can create a foundation in your movement to physically lift and open your heart, and allow you to go inside, to focus and extend a bit of compassion to yourself... if you happen to fall of out half moon a few times... Buddha once said something along the phrase of, “ If your practice of compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” This, is how I practice yoga every damn day.
Rhea’s hometown is the quiet town of Danville, Pa which sits on the banks of the Susquehanna River nestled in the valley of the Appalachian foothills. Still in the Appalachian Mountain range Fayetteville, West Virginia is the place she now calls home. Her cool small town is surrounded by beautiful sandstone walls, deciduous forests with endless trails, and amazing rivers, creeks, and lakes. It’s truly a place where peace and adventure meet.
Being outside helps her to connect with the bigger picture of life. To feel grounded and grateful, and also open and inspired to living more mindfully and soulfully.
The power of yoga and mindful living has shaped her life in so many enriching ways, and she felt called to share and teach this practice with others. She has been teaching yoga for four years.
Rhea holds a 200 hour yoga teacher certification through the Kripalu School of Yoga, and is also certified as an AMGA climbing guide and Wilderness First Responder.