by Trinity Mays
As I move along on life’s journey, I continue to gain an understanding of the importance of maintaining balance and harmony. Every day, I discover more of my Cherokee heritage, and I’m learning the rituals and ceremonies of my ancestors, and how they used those customs to enhance their daily lives, establishing and maintaining symmetry with all things. Uncovering the power of their practices has guided me to an understanding that I also utilize for enhancement of balance and harmony in yoga classes at my studio, Cardinal Yoga.
Rituals are a solemn series of actions performed in a specific order; ceremony is the culmination of a series of rituals. These acts in and of themselves really don’t mean much until they are performed. It is performing these rites that release their power, directing the ceremony to a desired outcome.
I have slowly introduced these rituals, such as smudging before and after class, to my yoga students. I start with lighting a pile of sage in an abalone shell with a match, using breath to get the smoke started, and then I begin with cleaning myself first, pulling the energy-clearing white sage smoke over my hands, face and heart. Then I walk the studio clockwise while chanting an extended peace chant. I end by walking out the front door to say thanks to the Creator for helping me on my journey. I can then step into each class open-minded to what may come, and practice listening to my intuition in order to guide the class in the best direction that serves the participants each day. At the beginning of class as everyone is preparing for the session, we all draw an oracle card—a positive tarot-like card—to give insight and inspiration before opening meditation. The energy of a class may be restorative and meditative, with breathing exercises to reduce stress and anxiety. Injuries take special care and nurturing, with props and breaking down alignment for relief within joints and reducing back pain.
While inspiring everyone to try, practice and do a handstand, I enjoy each exciting day and getting to know my students so I can help each one with their personal goals and to create new goals as their lives shift. I provide a calming environment with breath and meditation, so each person may experience serenity and tranquility in any pose. While in that safe place, we support each other in the journey to surpass our mental and physical boundaries with positive language and skillful alignment.
In the 12 years that I’ve been teaching, I have studied a variety of styles, alignment, meditation and restorative yoga, along with healing touch and native practices. Obviously I have grown and renewed a few times during my life and teaching. It is a goal of mine to share that growth with everyone that comes into Cardinal Yoga so we may walk our paths gracefully. It is an honor to walk with each person on this step of their journey, whether it is a few steps or a lifetime.
Trinity Mays is the owner of Cardinal Yoga, located at 2412 N. Olie Ave., in Oklahoma City. For more information, call 405-226-1177 or visit CardinalYogaOK.com.