“Yoga is the process of becoming established like a mountain in ones essential self.” – Patanjali, Yoga Sutras •
We, as practitioners of this art, are the mountain. Not the traveler seeking the guru at the top.
I’ve been practicing my yoga with a new fervor and daily commitment these past few weeks and something is stirring in me and I want to share it’s discomfort. Like the process of a tattoo; the pain, the rush of the endorphins, and the permanent outward message it displays, I too have been in acceptance of a pleasurable pain that needs to be acted on.
I had my first tattoo carved into my right upper arm 10 years ago. It is the yoga sutra written here above. I see it first thing every morning when I wake while lying on my belly looking out the window over my right shoulder onto the soft cradle of my arm tucked around my pillow. And it tells the truth in black ink.
I have been in process.
The process has been that of anger, forgiveness and hunger.
Anger that I allowed so many voices to shut me down from my yoga. These voices, including the one inside my head are primarily the self absorbed money & number driven studio manager, the scowling faced hyper paced athletic must-sweat-and-go-upside-down student, the bikini clad yoga practitioner that twitters during savasana and declares what a yoga body should look like, the adults who ask if that’s how I really make a living and support myself.
That ugly anger. The anger that comes from listening to the recording of “you’re not good enough” and turns you inward for awhile. I like myself. I like being inward, tucked in, quiet and listening, creating and alone with myself. And what I’ve found inside that inward turning, like huddling in a cave on the side of a mountain for a spell, is forgiveness. And I like the way that feels so much better than what proceeded it.
Forgiveness. Forgiveness to myself for allowing my yoga to go dormant. Forgiveness to those persons whose voices I felt were harsh to me. Forgiveness for my own hypocrisy. Forgiveness to my body which knows what it needs and is only asking for it in the language it knows best.
Hunger. Hunger to practice, to feel good, to connect with other beings, to teach this powerful practice.
Reading the outspoken and renowned Brooklyn NY Abhyasa Yoga Center owner and teacher J.Brown’s recent writing, Yoga and The New Dicipline, I was compelled to write this and share. He’s spot on.
As he writes, “Like it or not, we just can’t get away with the same old shit anymore. Those rising to the challenge by providing an example of transparency and honesty, are the ones inspiring new generations of earnest aspirants to carry the torch forward.
The new discipline is inner-knowing. Teachers are only so good as they are conducive to a person no longer needing them. The veil has been lifted just enough that there is no pulling it back over our heads. Time has come for us to get clearer about what we are doing and why we are doing it. Effective yoga teaching is becoming less about imposing an arbitrary catechism on someone’s experience, and more about stirring the kind of inquiries that lead to students being able to make their own determinations.”
Read on…. it’s brilliant.
So, I’m getting more tattoos. I’m getting uncomfortable again and putting myself out there once more. I’m being honest with my body. I am being honest with my teaching.
I’m writing class sequences, researching new music, chanting loudly, listening to stand up comedy, making art and mixing it all up into a disciplined movement of authenticity that I move & laugh to. I’m waking up early to practice my yoga and when I don’t, I stay up late. I’m creating a space where our family can gather in practice together, and a space where each of us can go inward. It’s too important not to share the power of this practice. But most importantly, I must practice.
My hope is you will enjoy joining me or in simply witnessing. Be hungry with me.
expand & get your hands dirty- love – lara