Dear Homegrown Yogis,
It is a running joke in my house that anytime something bad happens or anytime someone is going through a rough patch, I suggest yoga. Going through a bad divorce? Do some yoga. Discouraged with the state of the economy? The answer is definitely more yoga! And yes – on one level, I do mean it as a joke. I understand that yoga cannot cure the world’s problems. What I believe, however, is the practice of yoga reminds us of many things that provide hope in the face of challenges and even tragedy.
Yoga is a reminder of our connection with each other: There is something undeniably powerful about being in a room with people you may have never met and breathing together. That power comes from recognizing the innate connection we all share as people. We end each class with ‘namaste’ – a word that conveys exactly this: “I honor the light, love, truth, beauty and peace within you, because it is also within me. In sharing these things we are united, we are the same, we are one.”
Yoga is a reminder of how much beauty there is in the present moment: Ever walk into a yoga class after having a hard day? You smack your mat down on the floor, get down into child’s pose and swear the world is out to get you. Then, you find yourself half-way through class laying in cobblers pose with one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly. Suddenly you feel a moment of calm, peace and yes, even happiness. Yoga has the ability to connect us to what’s happening right this second – and oftentimes, the present moment is a pretty amazing one.
Yoga is a reminder of how all things pass: You have been in chair pose for what feels like 25 minutes – your quads are burning and your arms weigh about 50 pounds. Your teacher cues one final inhale and then whoosh – forward fold. It’s over!! Your quads relax, your arms drop down, and the work is gone. What a powerful reminder of how all things pass, no matter how difficult they appear at the time.
Yoga is a reminder of how change is possible: Remember that first time you nailed a pose that you never thought you would? You swore you would never be strong enough, balanced enough or flexible enough. Then, BAM! One day it happens. And it gives you hope and excitement for what else is possible both for yourself and our world. Yoga shows us that every moment is a new moment full of possibility and promise and things can change in one single breath.
This past month we saw the worst of the world on June 12th in Orlando. Will yoga heal us from it? Most definitely not. But can it be a part of our healing? Most definitely so.