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How to Find Freedom from Suffering

I’ve been to countless yoga retreats, and the one thing that strikes me is always the connection built within the community; a container, of sorts.  It seems to me that healing is really empowered when we come together to hold space and listen to each other talk.  You see, we can heal alone; we have everything within us already that we need, and this is something that I love to share.  But in my more recent suffering, I have felt called to connect deeper with others, and here, I explain why.

The Role of Our Thinking

When we are alone, we have two ways of being; if we are super enlightened, we can either use this space to dive inward, or more likely – in our humanness – we are perhaps more inclined to dive straight into our subjective thinking and fall into the negative trap of only seeing the pain.  We might spend hours reliving things, in isolation, which serves only to keep us in our suffering.  How many times have you isolated yourself to heal, instead only to find you feel worse? Connection is our true nature, you see; we are born to connect – and we are never actually separate from connection, but when we sit there, suffering alone, we forget that temporarily as we believe our stories, instead.

Stillness is also useful to see beyond all our thinking; if we can see how.  But, when we are deeply in our suffering, this can feel difficult. And so, what better way to find freedom than by finding a safe space to share?  A space which is still enough to offer the insight that we might find ourselves in our own quiet space, but which is fully supported.

Safe Space to Drop into Our Hearts

You see, I’m not saying that we absolutely needto be with others to heal; we are able to heal in the beautiful quietness of our minds, as we tend to see things differently when our own thinking quietens down (have you ever experienced this in a yin class, or meditation?).  But, the best way to heal, is to find something that can drop us out of our heads and into our hearts, and to rest in this space, until we can see that we are always ok.  A safe space, filled with beautiful connection of like-minds is the best way to learn how to do this because we can feel the love radiating, which reminds us that this is who we are.

Community Nurture and Developing Insights

The other thing is, if you can’t see your beautiful ‘okayness’ yet, and you are stuck in suffering with something – whether relationships, ill health, self-esteem, grief, or anything that you feel stuck with, then community nurture can really help. Often, we can’t see our own beauty, and we can’t see our own clarity.  We might feel suffering because our thinking tells us it is real, and others might point out to us that it isn’t actually so true after all. Community offers perspective – and a chance to learn from other people’s insights.

Support and Acceptance

Community sharing also offers acceptance.  You see, when we are suffering, what we really need is to learn that it is safe to suffer – not something to fear.  Being held and heard, and loved anyway is really important to help us find freedom from the experience of suffering, even if we can’t escape what is happening right now. When we know that we are safe and supported, our experience becomes lighter.  Holding others can help us see that too.

The reason I have set up some beautiful workshops with Liz Joy Oakley at More Yoga is because we know the value of such a community of connection.  In combination with some gorgeous gentle movement – like yin yoga – which can help us to firstly drop out of our heads and into our hearts, serving to deepen connection with ourselves, I wanted to offer the gift of allowing people to be seen, heard and loved.  I wanted to create an informal community container – a safe space – for people to begin to unfold and reconnect to who they really are, under the layers of thinking we have about our suffering.

So, if you feel called, please join us in one of our sharing circle workshops – we look forward to holding this space and connecting like-minds together.

Nicole Barton


Sunday 24th November
MoreYoga Angel
£25 per ticket
15% of proceeds will go to ChooseLove

s we draw towards the end of year we invite you to join Liz Joy Oakley and Nicole Barton for an afternoon of connection, opening and sharing. You will learn the tools to help you reconnect to your inner wisdom, drop into your heart-space and to practise more self-care on and off the mat.