Where does a physiologically-starved society – not to mention the lack of safety and sometimes love, belonging and esteem – actually find the strength for self-actualisation, self-transformation and self-articulation?
We are the creatures who know how to love. Even though this knowledge is covered, it is actually so simple to move that veil by a smile, a salute, a kiss. Sometimes, even only smiling to a complete stranger is enough to lighten the weight of the heart.
I’ve hated you since. I told all my students that yoga and running is the oil and water of fitness. I forced them to pick a side. If a student arrived in running shoes I'd freak out every single time hurl Tibetan bells at them. Once it was my quartz singing bowl; only once, because it smashed and those things are pricey. I felt betrayed.
For most of us, another "challenge" is yet another distraction from what is really going on. A "challenge" can mask what we really feel and keeping the status quo of "pushing through it" and "doing it anyway."
The term ‘yoga’, after all, is generally understood to refer to the yoking, or union, of mind and body. For that union to be meaningful, it seems to me that it must, by necessity, encompass the darker spheres of existence as well as the lighter ones... which means, at times, grief.
The extra-slow granny with the walking aid does not cross the street as slowly as possible only with the purpose of annoying the guy in the fancy sports car. For her, it might already be as fast as possible, and she is doing the best she can.
I mean, how proud can you really be about the fact that you gave up everything at 44, divorced your seemingly adequate life, moved away from your children for nine months and started a new life based on a whim and a prayer?
Yoga is many things to many people. So is sex. For some people, the Yoga class may be a safe haven, a spiritual refuge, or simply a place to relax. For others, it may be more akin to an aerobics class with chanting.
It has taken me a few years, several falls on my face and my ass, a broken toe, a sprained wrist, a torn hamstring and a twisted ankle, but my practice continues to grow into so much more than what I can do with my body.
Who can survive 6 weeks on Yoga Island? This is the greatest Reality TV show this Earth has dared to make! The winner shall receive enlightenment. Not just any enlightenment, but enlightenment by my very own hand!
I’d noticed that what had started as an attempt to help my suffering had suddenly seemed to push me even further into stress. I found myself hating everything about my life, including what was supposed to make me feel better.
Time and time again, I heard the voice of my own spirit say the words “Be Love.” The song in my ears singing, “You are one person, you are two alone, you are three together, you are for each other.” With every heartbeat, I heard, "Go. Be Love." So I did.
After teaching 25 private yoga clients a week for eight years, I can say with the utmost certainty, that if a student is doing a version of the pose that is interesting, challenging, and (most importantly) beneficial to them, they are “doing the pose.”
Yoga is not about killing yourself to perform the most advanced postures and running your body to a point of insane exhaustion and injury. Yoga is not competition, comparison, or jealousy. Yoga is not about the trendiest, newest way to get the flattest abs and 'hottest' body. Yoga is not drinking Chai lattes or making green smoothies in your Vitamix.
Life with limb loss is exhausting. As an amputee, I burn 60% more energy than I did when I had two legs. Sadness hits from time to time, but it is not the type of depression I experienced directly following the accident. Eating can still be a struggle, but I am no longer starving myself or working out for hours on end.
Breath, strength, flexibility and balance connected my mind and body for the greater good for 1,200 seconds, yet one thought caused my body to abandon my mind entirely, left alone, helpless, and broken.
In most cases, there is no one cheering on the beginning, or even average, writer or yoga practitioner. The successful novelist has probably endured day after day of lonely, dedicated production before ever churning out anything anyone really wants to read. The advanced asana practitioner has likely known endless hours of dedication with no audience and zero external encouragement.
Co-founders of the Copenhagen Yoga Festival, Mai Brøndsted and Stina Madelaire have been busily preparing for this coming weekend's two-day yoga festival in Copenhagen, Denmark. This is the festival's third year running and it's expected to double in size (fingers and toes crossed).
Wondering if it were perchance the combination of the yoga studio being located above a basement used as a dungeon of sadomasochism combining the energy of the previous friend’s occult, the raising of energetic awareness of others that brought this feeling, this sensation, this reality.
I am writing this to say that everyone at some point has an experience of pain. We each have an attitude towards our own pain. To me the practice is a good way to start looking at how we approach pain. This discussion isn’t always comfortable, but it is one that a lot of us need to have.
My issues with Enlightenment go back to my first yoga teacher training...my teacher offered us a small smile, and gently told us, “You will not really understand Enlightenment, because you will not obtain it this lifetime.”
The sense that stands on and appeals to authority is not always necessarily what it proclaims itself to be. More than two thousand years ago the Roman political theorist Cicero said, “The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn.”
I practice because it feels good. And contrary to what society has conditioned us to believe, feeling good should take precedence to looking good. But, the amazing thing about yoga is that it meets us where we are.
But yoga came around, didn’t it?! It’s brilliant now. It dropped all that soggy philosophy and became sexy. Sure, they kept a little reference to spirituality, but it’s like using chai syrup as opposed to real spices. It’s only suggestive.