Happy Election Day. Wow has the stress been palpable this week. Classes were busy at Bow Street last night and I'm so happy to have the opportunity to come together and alleviate some stress as a community, and so grateful for a warm safe place to practice and breathe. One of the attributes we are cultivating in practicing yoga is vairagya — often translated as equanimity or dispassion. Early on in my practice of yoga this was taught as "it is what it is." And I had such a negative connotation with that phrase. I'm not supposed to care so deeply?! Should I just crawl in bed and give up?
In reality, the dispassion we are fostering isn't meant to hinder progress or action. It's not "it is what it is, so why bother," it's more of a sense of just — "it is." It's a letting go of the outcome, but not the action. And the election season has been a great teacher. We are called to put in the work. Exercise our right to vote, and do our best to raise awareness.
I know many of you have jumped on the phones and volunteered to drive folks to the polls. It's still important to care deeply and put that passion into action. But at the end of the day — once the action is done, none of us can individually control the outcome. And that is where the equanimity comes in. We vote, but none of us can ultimately choose the president or the results of the questions. What we choose is our reaction: the words we choose to speak to those who hold different views and how much we let the outcome rock our internal worlds.
So today: keep practicing! Choose to pause and breathe (slow exhales are excellent for calming the system), and check in with sensation in your body. Feel your feet on the ground. Shut off the media & take a walk — the trees are still beautiful out there. You're doing great.
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Part of why yoga is so powerful is that it provides the time and focus to strip away everything that is not right now. And when the practice continues off the mat, the life that is actually unfolding around you every day will be more apparent. Instead of looking to confirm all of the negative, fresh eyes might see evidence of all of the good things in the world.
I believe in the inherent goodness of all people, that we are hard-wired for love. In reality, maintaining this belief takes hard work and practice. I set daily intentions of staying open and strong and trusting in love, and my asana practice is a physical reminder of this intention. So this week, I practiced & taught Warrior 1, a favorite pose requiring strong roots, flexibility, connection and trust. A grounded pose to reveal the heart. A reminder that to stay open takes both hard work — real action — as well as release.
About this blog
This blog, together with the occasional newsletter, will be an active space to share thoughts about yoga on and off the mat. Please let me know what you like and what you'd like to see more of. And as always, thank you for the gift of teaching!