The philosophical discipline of yoga takes us deeper than our physical world allows. The metaphysical practice benefits our mind, body, and soul. As the Bhagavad Gita says, “Yoga is the journey of the self, through the self, to the self.”
Going beyond our individual practice, one of the beautiful things about yoga is that it creates a community. In addition to my daily practice, I’ve become a part of a global community through yoga. Some of the members of this community have had a wonderful impact on my life.
I want to tell you about one of those people.
My Friend, Mat
Mat Turner, one of Corc Yoga’s ambassadors, inspired me to attend my first International Yoga retreat. His passion for community naturally created a bond between anyone who attended his retreats.
Mat’s genuine charismatic personality and humor made him an influential leader within the yoga community. He was passionate about yoga and mental health and wasn’t afraid of what others thought of him. It was easy to see why he was loved by hundreds of people, worldwide.
When Mat invited Corc Yoga to be involved in another retreat in Cornwall, England, I immediately replied with a “yes.” I knew it would be another amazing opportunity to meet like-minded people in one of the most beautiful places in Europe. It was an honor to be invited back. I couldn’t wait to reconnect with Mat and other mutual friends from previous retreats.
As I previously mentioned, Mat was passionate about mental health. He was intimately aware of people’s depression because he had battled his own internal turmoil for many years.
Unfortunately, his depression became more than he could bear. Just days before the Cornwall retreat Mat took his life. Early in the morning, Tracy, a dear friend, and organizer of the retreat called me with the heartbreaking news. But rather than drowning in our sorrow, she informed me the retreat was still on – we agreed that Mat would want us to carry on, celebrating the life he lived.
Community and the Celebration of a Life
The news of Mat’s passing was devastating and difficult to make sense of. And because of that, I knew I needed to be with this community – a group of friends that deeply cared for Mat. Mat had left his handprint on all of us, he was the common thread that tied us together.
The atmosphere of the retreat was somber at first, but the tone shifted when several of us gathered together over a bond fire to celebrate Mat’s life.
Although there were many tears shed, we committed to celebrating our beloved friend together. A couple of friends came prepared with beautiful candles and notecards to write something special to Mat.
We cried together, laughed together, and chatted until the late hours of the night.
I believe that grieving a loved one’s loss should sometimes happen in a community. I never would have imagined traveling over 5,000 miles to be with friends would provide so much comfort. There were so many questions left unanswered, but we agreed to hold each other’s grief.
I left Cornwall feeling more refreshed than before. The music, yoga, and community made me realize all that I would have missed if I had not attended the retreat.
It’s inspiring to watch organic relationships form during yoga retreats. There is a level of vulnerability and openness that allows for community to happen.
“Let your practice be a celebration of life.”
– Seido lee deBarros
Mat played an influential role in building our community. Those of us who have had the opportunity to be a part of it are forever grateful.
I want to carry on his legacy and do the same. I want to invite you into our community. It is my hope that our first retreat is the first step in developing a community of shared passion. A community where we leave an imprint on each other. A community where we inspire each other to grow and to go deeper in our practice.
Here’s my invitation to you, dear friend, to join this community.