How Yoga and Sound Changed Brittany’s Life and Helped Her Step Into Her Power As a Teacher

Can you tell us your personal story and how did you come to yoga and sound as a healing modality?

I began practicing yoga with my dad when I was 12 or 13. We just started doing it casually, it wasn’t like in a big studio somewhere. We’d watch this yoga show on PBS, pretty regularly, a few times a week. I immediately felt like home. And I stepped into it. And it was great. And so, for most of my life I’ve been in and out of yoga. I stopped for a bit and then picked it back up seriously in college, and then stopped for a bit. When I moved to New York, it became just a huge passion. I was not planning on ever wanting to be a yoga teacher, but, you know, seven or eight years later, here I am.

“I watch people come in heavy, and leave so much lighter. One of the things that is so incredible about holding this space is watching the transformation. To watch people come in even a little bit skeptical or afraid, with their darkness just weighing on them. It makes me want to cry a little bit just thinking about how it’s so heavy that it consumes them.”

 

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I began practicing yoga with my dad when I was 12 or 13. We just started doing it casually, it wasn’t like in a big studio somewhere. We’d watch this yoga show on PBS, pretty regularly, a few times a week. I immediately felt like home. And I stepped into it. And it was great. For most of my life I’ve been in and out of yoga. I stopped for a bit and then picked it back up seriously in college, and then stopped for a bit again. When I moved to New York, it became just a huge passion. I was not planning on ever wanting to be a yoga teacher, but, you know, seven or eight years later, here I am.

Yoga for me has been really therapeutic overall because it’s allowed me to move through a lot of emotional barriers that I’ve had over the past. We all have trauma, we all have experiences that have been unpleasant, but the practice of yoga and of moving through my body and staying connected through my body has been so helpful for me. I can’t even describe it. I believe that all of our experiences register in the body somatically on a cellular level. And I think that yoga helps us sort of wring out some of the stuff that we need to let go of, so that we can be these lightweight bright beings we are meant to be.

Sound is quite similar. I found sound in the therapeutic capacity much later in life but I remember having a bad breakup and my sound teacher, Ella, was playing a sound for me. I ended up sobbing on the floor. I left feeling so ready to move forward. For me. It’s just allowed me to face a lot of my things – in the same way that psychedelics have.

With yoga, I get so into it. It’s not just me dictating. From the feedback I’ve gotten, this is helpful to my students because it allows them to follow along with my somewhat involved sequences. These sequences really demand you be present and that you listen to your body. It forces people to put on blinders and empty all of that external gunk that we have all the time, silence that really vocal narrative of the ego, and hone in on their body. It creates this liberation and freedom. From start to finish, I love watching people wring out their baggage, and be ready to face it. When you get deep enough in your practice, you can come out just feeling so ready for the world, you know? Lighter and brighter. With sound, you don’t really get to see it as it’s happening. It’s more just a beginning and end. You see the heaviness and you see the lightness. It’s just fascinating.

With yoga, they can expect to get sweaty and to feel all of their stuff on every level – physically, emotionally, and hopefully, energetically. They can expect to do the work. And I think that’s why we all come to these practices.

With sound, they won’t get sweaty unless they want to! But they can expect to have an opportunity to do the work. I work a lot with the understanding that facing the darkness is one of the most glorious parts of our human experience. And I think that within the wellness community, we get very caught up in things being light and lovely. We forget the darkness is there. And when someone is so bright, that means that their darkness is just that dark. And so, finding that balance and working through your stuff is how you gain that clarity and inspire others to do the same.

I think it’s an effective step through the door. It’s an effective way to get to know and walk into healing. I do think that we are physical creatures that need to be together and to see each other and touch one another. So, I think that for some people who are hesitant, or who still need to feel safe in the confines of their space, it is like opening the curtain. I think it is going to bring a lot of people in and invite them to do the heavier lifting. Like a gateway medicine.

I think that they put together a beautiful team, and they found spaces that are contained and open. That balance is crucial for people to be able to feel free enough to do the work but safe enough to do the work. The team is crucial and they created a team that feels like family. Everyone wants to support one another and also support the collective. And everyone on the team feels like this is our mission. This is why we’re here. And we feel that so fully that we want to help people move through it all and feel their feelings.

I do think they go well together and support one another. It feels right putting the movement, the breathwork, the yoga, the meditation, into one big bubble. That is a great way to begin to see yourself and be reflective. Sound is another way for people to go deeper because it brings you the opportunity to be more meditative. You get to know parts of your subconscious that you didn’t know were there through stillness and the psychedelic experiences. It’s like going further down the rabbit hole of yourself.

It’s almost like a fractal. If you look inside a fractal, the biggest part of a fractal, the first shape you see is the yoga, the origin of meditation. And then you go deeper, and another fractal is the sound. And then when you go even further still, there’s the psychedelics. You’re just diving deeper and deeper in this endless voyage into the self. These modalities support one another, you need all of them in your life and your human experience in order to get to know yourself deeply.

One of the more recent moments I had was during a journey with my partner. On a Sunday, we took a mini-dose of psilocybin. We went for a walk in Central Park and it was a beautiful day. It was raining a little bit, but it was nice and sunny. We walked by The Obelisk. It’s this big Egyptian looking monument. I was staring at it for a long time and it was so moving, I kind of got lost in it. There was this beautiful moment where I felt I was connecting with ancient Egypt, and I had this understanding that my experience as a human is endless.

We were walking back home, and I realized that even within this endlessness, there’s a boundary that is me at the essence. Even though we’re all the same, we’re still having separate experiences and therefore, we are still stuck. But there will be a point in my life where my partner (who is my favorite person) and I will not be together. Either one of us dies, and there will be this moment where we would miss each other desperately, and not be able to get to one another. I don’t know why that was just very profound. It was a reminder that this experience is finite.

And I genuinely don’t know what happens afterwards. And I think that’s okay. I think that as teachers and leaders in the wellness world, we seem so sure that we’re all connected. It’s just going to be this one endless quest, but there is no proof of anything. We just don’t know. And so, it was a reminder to really enjoy and live and express in this human experience and to really give it all I’ve got.

I watch people come in heavy, and leave so much lighter. One of the things that’s so incredible about holding this space is watching the transformation. To watch people come in even a little bit skeptical or afraid, with their darkness just weighing on them. It makes me want to cry a little bit just thinking about how it’s so heavy that it consumes them. And they sit with themselves and they look that darkness in the eye. They are so brave to sit with this, and they come out feeling so much more hopeful about the world. I don’t have words for it. That process is so fulfilling for me.

Somewhere beautiful. I think if we continue to be leaders and pure about the intention of really wanting to heal, I think it’s going to go someplace beautiful. I think it’s going to go someplace magnificent. I just want people to remember to seek out the people that are genuine and that have their best interest in mind, the people that have sat with the medicine and done the work.

Integration is a process of digestion. Once we have an experience or journey with anything outside of us, we require time to break down all the information we received. Some of it isn’t downloadable. Some of it will be stored in our subconscious. Some of it will make sense, and some of it will reveal itself in time. We can then allow ourselves space to comprehend by understanding that integration is an ongoing process that isn’t bound by time, but instead our own personal thresholds,

For me personally, I integrate using several modalities. The first is patience. I don’t rush it. I sit with every emotion and sensation that arises. And initially I need quiet and solitude. I am not one to so openly share what I experienced, because language can be very limiting. I journal afterwards and regularly, I walk, I meditate, and I express through movement. And in this unstructured structure, I allow myself time to understand and hopefully expand my capacity for understanding.

Yoga, breathwork, getting outside of myself, helping someone else in some capacity. Sitting and listening.

Facing that discomfort and fear and pain with liberation as the end goal, and then hopefully finding that liberation and the layers of liberation.

It means wholeness. I think it expands outside of ourselves. Wellness to me is not just our wellness of our physical bodies, but wellness of our emotional bodies too. It’s the wellness of our spiritual bodies. Your emotional, physical, and spiritual hygiene should not be damaging to someone else’s wellbeing. How do we maintain health and happiness and contentment individually, collectively and for the planet?

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