A love letter to yoga

If you read this blog regularly, you'll know I can be critical of yoga, or to be correct, critical of the industry that has sprung up around it, the misunderstanding of the practice and philosophy, and body-fascist elitism and celebrity that has sprung up.

But yesterday I was practicing at home, not any lineage, not any style, not any goal, and I remembered why I do this, and how I got here, and I felt a rush of joy and relief. That this gift came into my life. That I was guided to/stumbled upon this path. And so I decided to take a step back from the critical thinking (as essential as it is), and to send a love letter to yoga.

Dear yoga

Thank you for coming into my world. Thank you for waiting patiently as I procastinated and avoided bringing my whole being to this, and thank you for welcoming me so warmly when I finally did. Thank you for helping me to find safety in my body, power in my breath, and thank you for helping me learn that I am more than my mind. 

Thank you for bringing incredible people into my life, and for helping me to see the incredible people that had been there the whole time. Thank you for boosting my self-esteem - not by making me skinnier or bendier or stronger, but by helping me realise I am already enough, already whole, whether I can balance on my hands or not. 

Thank you for being so complex, and for forcing me to remember that I am never completely sure, and to always stay open minded and yet alert to the frauds, the tricksters, the avidya vidya (the ignorant wise - the people that think they know, but don't).

Thank you for teaching me what I need to know in incredibly clever ways! As a workaholic, an achiever and a doer, it strikes me as droll that my project is Rest Is Radical and I have to figure this out. I always said this path has never been easy, and learning how to rest is the hardest thing of all. Working with a 1-2-1 client today, I was offering reflexology as a way to soothe the nervous system and ground back into the body. I commented that it could make her fall asleep, just like yoga nidra did, and then I quipped that my work is sending people to sleep! Learning how rest is activism is important, somehow, and I thank you yoga for bringing me this work. This is yoga, and although many think of you as something for the young, fit and lycra-clad, you and I both more there is so much more being offered, if only you know where to look. 

So thank you. Sometimes I am furious with the translation of the sutras, with the abuse of power and disregard for boundaries by some teachers, of the sexual abuse in ashrams and the obsession with the 'yoga body'. My ego throws up constant arguments against the path, many of which are based on some good reason, and so I am continuously challenged on this path, but the fact I am doing the work of my heart always makes me pause for breath and feel so, so thankful. 

So thank you again. And we will return to critical thinking next time!