Images and Transformation

During a Phoenix Rising session that I received in Japan, I had a profound and life-transforming experience. I can’t remember what pose I was in since the significant experience happened as I released from the pose. As I embraced the sensation of the release the practitioner, who is also a yoga teacher that I fully trust, allowed me to simply stay there and explore, with invitational dialogue.

There was a vivid visual image as if I’m seeing a pond or lake. First thing I noticed was the coolness and darkness of it as if I’m gazing in the shady area of this body of water. Eventually, I started to notice a brighter, sparkly area under the sun, more toward the left side of my visuals. I stayed with the direct experience of gazing at this body of water. The significant of this visual, for me, was that it encompassed duality as one. The dark side and the bright side. Yin and Yang. Confusion and clarity.

This experience was one of the first baby steps toward coming to peace with being in a grey area, that is neither black or white, wrong or right, the spectrum that I often refer to as a “gooey place.” It was a step toward awareness and acceptance of the beginning, the end and everything in between. Being able to access deeper spaces and awareness within me through multiple PRYT sessions eventually led me to pursue becoming a PRYT practitioner.

Another experience happened through a process to heal from the shock (or the trauma, if I’m to use a recently popular word) of losing someone in my rock-climbing group to a fatal accident. The visual of his body lying on the ground, where he fell, flashbacked repeatedly. I felt like my system was shutting down, I needed very long sleep and I could not focus. I sought support from an EMDR practitioner who I had seen a few times prior to the incident for a different reason.

My “inner safe place” during EMDR sessions was informed through past PRYT sessions; when I sought the inner resource within, what I came in touch with was the inner wisdom that I became aware of through PRYT sessions. This inner wisdom always showed up as a body of water; sometimes a rather small body of water like a pond or lake, sometimes a much larger body of water like the ocean, sometimes it is a bright daytime, sometimes the sun is setting over it, sometimes it is a full moon night.

During that EMDR session after the climbing accident, I explored my confusion and sadness around the loss of the bright young climber that happened in the blink of an eye. At one point a vivid visual of the ocean washed over me. It was like a bird’s eye view as if I’m watching the surface of the ocean from the sky, seeing waves appear and disappear. Small waves, big waves, short-lived waves, and long-lived waves. They all emerged from and dissolved back into the oneness of the ocean. At that moment I experientially understood he is one of the waves just like I am. The wave, that he is, touched another wave, that I am, for a short moment and dissolved back into the ocean. Just like the wave that I am touching others in my life for however the length or the depth we are blessed to touch each other.

I have resonated with a non-dual way of understanding our lives and spirituality since I was in college, but that has always been from an academic and rather “heady” standpoint. It made a lot of sense to me in my head, but I did not have an experiential understanding of it. This experience of the ocean as oneness allowed me to start embodying the experiential understanding of non-duality. It was profound. The presence of the ocean constantly stayed in my background for a few months after that, as if I had this new filter to look through the world. While the constant presence of it dissipated over time, I can easily get in touch with that place if I reach out to it. One of my friends called it Samadhi. I can’t say for sure it was similar to the state of Samadhi or not, but it indeed was a transformation for me in the way it shifted my way of being engaged in this world.

“Ayano Atsumi, C-IAYT, is a yoga teacher and certified Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist in Manitou Springs, Colorado. She is passionate about facilitating space for people to explore their inner wisdom through embodied awareness.”