By Alana Downey
I was living in a 2-bedroom rent control for $1900/month in West Hollywood. I quit a job after a tireless effort of me trying to wave a huge red flag in front of the owners of a well-known residential rehab. “Pay attention, these are peoples lives we are dealing with- your staff needs to know CPR YO”. A month later a client OD’d on my day off- the same day the love of my life decided to move out. That was a bad day.
My friend Janice knew what I had just gone through. She was beaming with the Golden White Light from her new found passion- Power Yoga. She nudged me to come, dangling a week’s free pass. Without thinking I was in a C2 Power yoga class on Hollywood Blvd finding my lost Downward Dog. I had been an on/off again Yogi for years. I knew the basic poses so I could keep up with Power Jones’s next to me. This time, yoga pulled me like never before.
Here I am an ex punker, tattooed since the 80s “finding myself “jumping into Chataranga with just as much rage as I did jumping into the pit of a Dead Kennedy’s show, only this time my Doc’s were in the locker and by now, my inner child had been educated on the streets with enough experience strength and hope to knew how to separate the two.
By the end of my week’s pass I was hooked and ready to sign up for a monthly pass. The enlightened being behind the counter, that was just teaching the class, who minutes ago, was swaying me to let my heart burst open by bending my back and opening my arms wide, instantly brought me back to the pit with “would you like the black tag special of $150/month”? Are you f**ing kidding me, Black Flag what??….. I was a single mother on food stamps and by the look on his face; my punker must have shown, as with his next Ujahee breath, he offered me YFT- (that’s Yoga For Trade, not a new punk band). I could clean the studio’s 3 hours a week for unlimited yoga. My inner punker heart burst open… SOLD.
Jumping into my newfound Warrior 2, I was taking Sculpt Yoga in the morning and wrapping my day with Hot Power Fusion 5 days a week and YFT in between. Hooked on yoga. I found my new life’s calling and before I knew it, I am sitting in a 200-hour yoga sculpt certification class. Piecing my broken spirit back with memorized vignettes and perfecting my dancer’s pose. One night in class, an instructor whispers to her colleague pointing my direction to what must have looked more to them like the “Wilted Flower Pose”, She slowly walked over “what’s going on over here” I sucked in my “Whatchulookinat” with my last sip of air trying to hold my dancing wilted flower. Then I came undone on my mat, tears forming- explaining my right hip replacement from years of debauchery. She smiled “Carry – on this is your yoga pose girl”. My dancer blossomed that day.
Certified and happier than I had been in years, I was doing yoga 2 times a day- 5 days week. I began meditating with the Dharma Punx, hiking running canyon on the weekends, drinking green smoothies and having never touched red meat, I was in better shape in my forties’ than I was in my punkass tweeker twenties. Then I got the call “Would you like to come work with us”, dangling an irresistible salary in my spiritual food stamped face, I bit.
Rolling my spiritual toolkit up, shoving it deep in my tote bag I flung my yoga life over my shoulder. Before I knew it, my spiritual gangster has gone rouge for an almost six figure income. Within three months we moved to a 3-bedroom Malibu beach pad. I drove a company car working 65-70 hour weeks again, telling myself “Check me out, I have arrived”. I gave up my mat and swapped my golden white yogi for working in rehabs, which sucked the life out of me once again.
I climbed to the top of my mountain pose, making money hand over fist for my new employers. I told myself The Course of Miracles was finally working in my life, manifesting the $3000/mo killer view of Point Dume. Soon my Tar-shey wardrobe turned designer brand suits. My hidden sugar skull elbows were rubbing with celebrity rehab owners. I was going spiritually bankrupt while my bank accounts were filling. My higher self (which is on mute) is screaming. STOP ~ PAUSE and REBOOT!!!
Within 6 months I had lost everything. The owners of the rehab fired me. I filled their golden nest egg basket and emptied mine. A 3-day notice was tacked on my door and the company car gone. I was back in the pit thrashing, living smack in the middle of paradise stripped of everything. Body, mind and spirit crushed. My beaming chakras were blown out, forcing my ego into final Savasana/Corps pose.
Surrendering once again, the universe had chipping away the old punker forcing my spiritual gangster-ass to come crawling back to the mat, back into child’s pose.
With a huge exhale remembering …
”A spiritual life is not a theory. You have to live it.”
Alana Downey was raised in LA and worked in the music industry as a promoter for over 20 years. She currently works in the behavioral health field. She has been a “closet case” writer since the age of 12. Alana blogs at polishedpunker.wordpress.com. She can be followed on Twitter @polishedpunker and on Instagram as missalanadowney.