With every new year opportunities for change awaken within us…
This last year was full of change, many endings and beginnings not only for individuals but also for our nation and our planet. Every time a door closes another opens. And so I feel optimistic in the coming years that there are many openings and opportunities for students and seekers of yoga to bring the expansive vision of this practice into our work, education system and health care practices.
Yoga has already become more mainstream and there is an increasing body of research supporting the benefits of this practice across many disciplines. While I believe there is great benefit in taking periodic or even weekly yoga classes, I believe there is an even greater impact that can come from bringing the wisdom of our practice into our work in the world.
The word ‘Yoga’ comes from Sanskrit and means ‘Union’ or ‘Yoke’ as in, that which brings the cows together. Why a farm implement for cows, you might ask? Yoga is a practice of looking into the true nature of things, and cows, when treated correctly, give their milk freely with the love of a mother. In this way, because of the life-giving and nurturing quality of milk, cows are considered sacred in India. And so the practice of yoga is a practice of connecting to everything that is sacred, or seeing the sacred in our every day experience and having gratitude to the Great Mother who gives birth to every aspect of life, everything we can perceive.
Yoga as a practice of perception, attitude and attention also questions our vision of the world? What do we believe about human beings? About ourself? And What do we envision for the future, what do we think is possible or even imminent? By examining our own experiences and beliefs we can hone a clear and valuable intention for own life and how we want to live it.
When I was a young girl, I remember my dad starting conversations with waitresses, bank tellers, really anyone he could strike up a conversation with… He would always ask them in his charming and friendly way, “Do you hope the war stops (insert any war that has troubled any nation for the past 30 years)?” Almost everyone to my memory said yes. He would then ask with a dimple in his chin, “Do you think it’s possible?” And many people said no. This is where yoga, or the insight of our true nature and the power of our beliefs, reveals that we can change the world by changing our own minds. We can hold a vision of a world where there is peace among different “tribes” or “groups” or “political parties”. Where human beings can celebrate the strength of one united human family living in harmony with our beautiful and life-giving planet- and tolerate nothing less.
Physically yoga teaches us to balance strength and surrender. Just because I know how I want to live doesn’t mean I can snap my fingers and burn my will to force it to happen. Instead by learning to balance strength and flexibility we learn to be disciplined and receptive at the same time. Able to be strong through difficult patches in our life while trusting the waves of uncertainty.
Yoga then is a practice of great courage and asks you to examine your actions. What is your work in the world? Your community?
Your family? And how are you actually doing it? Are you exhausted? Do you feel inspired? Do you trust the path? Through strength you build your confidence and discipline and through flexibility you become more receptive to the constant change that time provides.
The practical application of yoga is making time and space for self-reflection in all environments. As a culture yoga can help us to slow down- to look not only to sources of wealth and power, but also to sources of wisdom and beauty. To ask collectively, how do we want to live on this planet? And what do we think is possible? And then with trust, great strength, patience and compassion we can transform our world.
The time for change is now.
To all seekers who believe that we can change the way we live as a human family on this planet- I hear your call!
I am grateful to be of service to humanity on this path of yoga and look forward to another year of growth, healing and transformation.
If you wish to bring the benefits of your own personal practice into your professional life, whatever your career may be, I invite you to join me in my 2018 Teacher Training. Learn more here: