Yesterday our dear, kind-hearted teacher Ann shared her thoughts on the most recent national tragedy, and how she turns to Yoga to help calm the flurry of emotions and fears. Thank you, Ann. Your perspective is on point, and such a good reminder that we truly DO get to choose the thoughts we think, and how we respond to things that happen around us and to us. Love and light to you, and to all beings.
GETTING BACK TO OUR ROOTS Series: A Yoga Journey with Ann Carlson
It’s a tough Monday. I’m walking around my house and can’t seem to finish one task. My mind can’t focus as the events in Las Vegas last night are so fresh, Tom Petty’s death is strewn about all over social media, Port Angeles is scheduled to slide into the sea any minute now (earthquake woes), natural disasters everywhere, my cramps are worse than ever today and I don’t have the energy to cook (I’m hangry). There are so many things wrong in the world today, so much fear, so much negativity. It’s easy to fall down the worm-hole of it all, feeling hopeless and helpless. I think it’s valid to feel those low-level energies, they are the first steps on the path of renewal, action and hope. Another struggle I often feel is white/first world guilt. When I see the tragedies happening all over the planet, all the people suffering, I can’t help but think “why me?” Why do I get to live comfortably? Why is my life so easy? It doesn’t seem fair at all.
Yoga has taught me that opposites are necessary. That without darkness there is no light. That life is hard, and bleak, and terrible sometimes but that love wouldn’t feel so good, powerful, strong and healing if we didn’t also have the experiences of fear and hate. Yoga can help transmute those low-level energies into new awakenings, new perspectives. So today instead of walking around feeling helpless, unworthy of my good life, frustrated at the world; I stopped. I sat and I put my hands on my heart and I bowed my head and cried. Instead of trying to analyze and label and wonder “Why” I let the feelings come through my body and out my teary eyes, I felt my heart get warm and I connected to a space bigger, more spacious that is overflowing with love. Love for myself and love for the world. I felt hope. I felt the weight lifting. I opened my eyes and felt almost instantly re-charged by my little love/cry mediation. Because what yoga teaches you is that it doesn’t always have to look like a pose, you don’t even have to move to be “doing yoga”. You can live every minute of every day practicing your yoga. Practicing mindfulness. Witnessing your experiences without judgment and reaction, moving from a place of connection to your truth is very powerful; and your truth is always love. It’s been my experience that things like forgiveness, hope, love, compassion and empathy; they’re stronger than their lower counter parts. They aren’t going anywhere, either. They will always be there to grab a hold of in the face of fear and tragedy. If you’re new to yoga and reading this, you might be attracted to yoga because of the physical benefits, but the coolest part about it in my opinion is the way it will start to show up in your life outside of class. We practice patience, non-judgment, self-acceptance in our physical practice, so we shouldn’t be surprised when that compassion starts to change our lives outside the studio. The world can always use more love and light, and it starts with cultivating it inside ourselves so we can give of it freely to others.