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For the love of Yoga

I used to feel that life was very black and white, and to be strong in your convictions was important; therefore, you must choose one or the other. Through life experiences, exposure and absorption of provocative art, cerebral and esoteric conversations and the down and dirty practice of Yoga, I’ve not only become more comfortable with gray, but I’m now embracing contradiction, the existence of hypocrisy and the potential for relating and understanding many angles to arguments and the endless spectrum in which people live their lives. There are some key issues that haven’t changed, they’ve probably deepened, but for the most part I’m becoming more comfortable in the unknown, in the ambiguity of life. And I’m grateful. It is deeply mystifying to explore the duality of life. Being a student and teacher of Yoga, a practice meant to be inclusive, gathering, welcoming, awareness driven but never preachy, enlightenment as intention with emphasis on lessons to be gleaned from darkness and suffering, has nailed down what is really important, and diminished the weight of what is not. It resonates and elevates beyond the confines of the mat. It has taught me to radiate Yoga out and in turn, harness it deeper within. This is all very granola, somewhat cliché hippy dippy talk. I’m fine with that. My delving into the practice led me toward explorations and relationships that now make me better and my form of expression is words. Words are meaningless, but they’re all I have. I cannot paint (my art teacher made fun of me, seriously). I do not sing (to others, you’re welcome for that). I love to dance but do not have the lifelong acquired skill to express my feelings and interpret for others to enjoy, except in the creation of my vinyasa sequences. I cannot operate a camera with more than 5 settings (I leave that to the very talented and skilled men in my life). For me, I feel strong when I share, in teaching and in scribing, speaking and corresponding. I’ve been crippled by excessive self-awareness, questioning my skills, whether anyone would want to listen or read, and similar to excessive confidence and the lack of self-awareness, each are driven by the ego, by fear. Yoga shines a light on the ego’s dark existence, bringing in an awareness that slowly dissolves fear and a presence in which the ego simply cannot survive. I’ve slowly gotten over myself, not thinking of myself as great, but also not thinking of myself as inadequate. I am perfectly adequate, and so are you. I care, deeply, for people and for my life to have meaning, to feel effectual and align the external with the internal. Again, duality.

Below started as a game of wordplay, of antonyms, of complexity, and of analyzing the meaning of Yoga, both literally and figuratively. Yoga’s root word is yolk, meaning union, the roots being the union of unconscious and conscious, horizontal and vertical, mortality and divinity. What arrived after a long, run-on sentence, was somewhat of an interesting poem, and keeping in line with everything Yoga has extracted and taught, I thought instead of hoarding it, fearing its unworthiness and doubting its purpose, why not share in something many of us already love, a truth you already know, and share with some who may not have felt the magic of Yoga yet, but perhaps you can relate in your own way. We all can be yogic, being able to touch your toes or twist into a pretzel has very little to do with the intended results. Some of the most beautiful yogis in my life either cannot or do not practice what we’d all assume to be this ancient practice. It has proven benefits for your mind, body and soul, brings a deeper appreciation of this very second, eliminates psychological time, and fosters a very supportive and fun community.

I can only hope I’ve had a fraction of the impact on my students as they’ve had on me. My persistent goal is to keep learning. We’re never finished, treating the means as the end makes the end unpredictably sweeter and the journey exponentially more potent and alive. I’m no longer anxious for what tomorrow will bring or incessantly focused on having a plan. I’m embracing presence as a priority and allowing the path to unfold before my eyes. I’ve recognized I do not have all the answers and I do not need them, I’m open and willing to learn them as I’m exposed, being kinder to myself and reverberating that to my world, hoping it’s boundless. I wish for not only the people I love, but also the people so wrecked with pain, those I still do not understand, and those I’ll never meet, to find their own yogic truth. Who you are is beautiful, give fear and your ego a big middle finger. Give yourself the gift of yoga.

Shanti (peace) and Namaste (I see you, the light in me acknowledges, respects, the light in you.).

Union Symbiosis Mind and body Human and mat Ego and essence Time versus presence Self doubt and confidence Fear and passion Art and skill Strength and flexibility Inhaling and exhaling Rooting down and rising up Succeeding and failing Contentment and insatiability Stamina and Stillness Energy high and energy low Sun and snow Hatha and flow Knowing and unknown Yin and Yang Human and Being We’re all the same