Wednesday, November 6, 2019

I often reflect on the precious beings who attend my classes and workshops.  I learn from each person who graces me with their presence and attention, in my classes as well as in life!   Having made my way as a yoga & meditation teacher, and yoga therapist for the last 22 years or so, I've seen much change in modern yoga in America in both how it's offered and how people are receiving it.  The fact that people keep showing up is one constant and that they are showing up because they are looking for something is another aspect that likely will never change.  People come looking for body pain relief, mind pain relief, stress reduction, fitness, community, something fun to do, a unique experience, information gathering, and who knows what else.  I have seen the big picture of life that spins around and outside of peoples' yoga practice shift considerably in the last two decades as well.  This could be a factor of my own aging as I turn 49 just this month, but I feel like life keeps speeding up.  There seems to be an constant uptick of more things to do, things to see, people to connect with, and an every increasing amount of readily available information with an increasing capacity to process it faster, all the time.  I see young people look more mature at younger and younger ages.  And old people looking younger in their later years.  I see the doing, striving, and efforting energies on a steady increase and the being, relaxing, and receiving energies waning.  Depending on your values and desires in this life, this is either a wonderful byproduct of human capacity or a depressing one.  I (and most of the people I know) can't deny the problems of over population and climate change mounting in our world, and that causes me heartbreak.  How this relates to yoga, as I see it, is the increase in what we could call yang energies are outweighing and overcoming the yin energies–we are heating up, expanding, and making more of everything.  I see this trend creating a more achievement dynamic in yogasana and meditation.  I see people bored with, or unable to be bothered with, the time it takes to feel into the process.  I see yoga students bypassing the details and nuance of somaticizing or embodying the process, and rather plowing head-on into some perceived final goal of asana.  I see people wanting to GET the quiet space of mindful presence without having to deal with the discomfort of wading through the mucky process of unwinding all the karma and that got them where they are.  In short, I believe most students of yoga today would do better to FEEL more and TRY less.  The ability to relate to what one is feeling is at the heart of asana and meditation.  Ignoring pain, bypassing process, valuing achievement over process is antithetical to yoga.  In the texts, asana is not prescribed as three steps to the perfect pose, nor is meditation prescribed as a kind of step by step recipe to freedom.  In fact the information offered is often cryptic and paradoxical.  It. Is. Not. Easy.  And I feel the attempts to make it easy with formulas or soundbites undermine the process of what can be learned from stewing in the difficulty.  So what I'm learning from what I see in the bodies and behaviors of those attending the classes I teach is that creating a space for more inquiry is way more fruitful than directing actions and imposing alignment.  I believe that slowing down and challenging people to feel more, to try different things, to initiate from different places, to question the things that get said, to question the answers we've been feed, to feel the actions and results, to pause more are ways to the heart of what yoga really means–which is to connect.  For information on a whole bunch of opportunities to that more of that, check out any of the events I offer...they are listed on my website.

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