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The Lone Wolf
Posted 08-10-2015

I've always been something of a loner. I've never spent a long period of time with the same circle of friends. I was never popular or very social. I spent much of high school and college extraordinarily reserved. No one ever asked me to a dance or out on a date until much later in life. As a figure skater I spent a lot of my childhood with myself on the ice practicing alongside coaches or with headphones covering my ears practicing my moves on my rollerblades when I couldn't get to the rink. I ran for my high school's track and cross country teams - also very solo experiences. I was more comfortable with my nose in a book than I was socializing. These patterns followed me into my first jobs out of college and eventually into my teaching career in yoga. It's not that I avoided social activities or didn't have friends...I just found it more than challenging to sustain relationships with others because of my own fears, habits and choices. This has always been an interesting predicament for me because I am in fact quite extroverted. Flash forward to a comment I remember as clear as if it were yesterday - maybe because I have recently returned to the place, to the very room where it occurred, or maybe because I have been thinking of it since the day it was muttered. Years ago I came to Kripalu, where I was recently teaching, to take a course with my teacher, Ana Forrest. We were doing a group sequencing exercise and I was holding back. I didn't want to offend anyone. I didn't want to be wrong. I didn't want to make waves. And as Ana watched us deliberating as a group, she noted that I was quiet despite having taken more of her trainings than anyone else in the group. As the day ended and we went our own ways she rest her hand on my arm and said very quietly but very strongly, "Allison, the time of the lone wolf is over." And then she walked off. (Some day I'll tell you more about the wolf analogy and why she chose that metaphor for me.) This was her way of telling me that holding out, that isolating myself out of fear, that not risking sharing what I knew was a habit that needed to end. She was encouraging me to share my gifts and work with the community around me without fear. I took this comment to heart and for the next several years I threw myself into a project and job that required close collaboration with colleagues - hoping to make friends, to build community, to break out of my shell and trust others as I never had before to co-create something magical. I put all my wisdom and efforts out in the open. I revealed myself professionally as I never had before. I tried really hard to be a great teacher, a great colleague, to work well with others and learn from them. It went horribly. I will spare you the messy details - no one needs to hear them here - but needless to say that I went back to being a lone wolf licking its wounds rather quickly after the experiences I went through trying to reach out of my shell.


Featured Event

The Call of Fall - October 3, 2015 - 3:30-5:30pm - Reflections Yoga Center - 18675 Dixie Hwy - Homewood, IL

Autumn is the season of connection to release and to the energies of the Earth. The trees release their leaves and feed the composting layer of the soil during this time of year. The plants do a final release of food at the end of the harvest season. Your yoga mat is a wonderful place to take these natural cycles and apply them to your own body, mind and energy. Use the practices of Forrest Yoga to feel a physical, mental or emotional pattern that you want to release from your body or life. Go after release in a sweet and steady twisting practice where you will generate heat, mobility and opening to learn how to make fertilizer for future growth out of a pattern holding you back right now. This practice is suitable for all levels and can be modified for pregnant students. Register HERE.