I went to the climate protest yesterday and was in awe of all the young people standing together in solidarity. I watched as they physically supported each other when a wall was too high to climb but in a sea of adults needed to be climbed in order to see and be seen. Yes, Greta Thunberg was powerful and I am forever grateful for her mighty voice, but something also happened that shook me; that woke me up. Let me back up to paint a bigger picture- this protest was NOT the first climate protest organized by our youth, this was not their first time striking from school on a Friday, nor their first time demanding we change our ways. The climate crisis is a social justice issue and the platform they are speaking from and on behalf of, is long overdue. These protests hold space for all beings, but have encouraged the muted voices of our elders, woman, children, and people of color to come forward. We must overcome the forces that divide; we must rise together for the benefit of all beings, everywhere.
I showed up early and I stayed late, I was certainly not alone in this. I heard the prayer called out from our elders, I watched 6 young panelists speak from their heart, I heard Greta and then stayed to listen to the call-to-action, the closing ceremony and sacred songs. To my dismay, I witnessed many show up to see Greta and then flood out the moment she was done speaking. The hope I felt during the protest was diminished in that moment. However, one sweet speaker sent me home with fire in my soul. She stated loud and clear that we better know our reason WHY. (Why did we show up for the protest? and was it really to take a picture and post on Instagram? Why will we continue to show up after the protest is over? Why are we here?)
I couldn’t sleep last night. I was replaying Seane Corn in my head, “We must ignore the story and see the soul.” Then Douglas Brooks would chime in, “Why are you here and what are you going to do about it?” Next Amy Ippoliti, “Adikara (studentship) is about understanding your desires, cultivating your willpower, and demanding more of yourself.” I heard my teachers voices on a loop, lending themselves to my own clarity.
Yoga is not my career or something I do, it is my entire life. Yoga is my path and I teach for three very specific reasons.
Community- I believe in strengths in numbers. I believe that we are all in this together and together we are stronger. I believe that we are each a snowflake but together we are an avalanche. My foundation of deeper thought came from the works of Plato. The original creation of the “city” was to showcase talents and accomplish more by only doing what we loved. The bread maker would make bread, the shoemaker would make shoes, the carpenter would build houses, et cetera. We are all here for a reason and we all have something different to offer the world.
Longevity- I believe good alignment is good therapy. I believe that when we cultivate the discipline to maintain good alignment in our asana practice, we cultivate that same discipline to maintain good alignment in our lives. I wish for myself and my students to move freely in their old age. I wish for the independence to make our green smoothies and to do our own laundry at 90. I believe that we must slow down and engage with our emotions, rather than use yoga to escape. How we do one thing is how we do everything. Life is a gift, life is meant for us to engage in, to participate in, not run away from.
Yes- I believe in saying, YES, to the fullness of life. I live from a life-affirming philosophy. Again, life is a gift and I believe I am here for a reason. I believe we are the physical embodiment of the Divine. That the Divine has come down from the many into our singular form as a way to experience life through all the human sensations. Life is an exploration and participation of the senses. What can we learn through this experience that we couldn’t learn any other way? I acknowledge both the light and dark, and I learning to integrate or dare I say, love, both the light and the dark. I honor the sanctity of my center, of our center, and I strive to reside there.
So the question that my musing begets: do you know your WHY? Are you truly showing up in your life, or are you running away? What would it take to make a change?
May this practice always be of benefit.
*I belong to 90 Monkeys School under the guidance of my beloved teacher, Amy Ippoliti. This is her framework which I have adopted as my own.