In class last week, we started a discussion about what Yoga means to each of us. I have been fascinated by the concept of the Paradox since I was a teen. I like to view life as a Paradox, it is everything and nothing. It is movement and it is stillness. It is laughter and crying, pleasure and pain, happiness and sadness. In Yoga we are taught that it is only when we get attached to needing to be one way or another, trouble arises. And so we come to our mats and we watch our breath. Our inhale which opens, expands and makes room in our bodies as well as our exhale which releases, stabilizes and relaxes our bodies.
Trauma separates us from ourselves and from others. From the moment we are born, we are taught that we are separate from others. We are physically and so often traumatically removed from our mother’s bodies. Trauma comes in all shapes and all sizes. It happens to all of us just by being in these physical bodies that pull us in different directions. The trauma of birth, the trauma of being separated and not being held, not caressed, not listened to, the trauma of falling as we learn to walk, all of these traumas taking us farther away from our Self and knowing that we are One with ourselves.
We are constantly classified and categorized and filtered. Starting at birth we are classified as Male or Female. And the classifications and categorizations continue and grow throughout our childhoods and lives. Young children will play and interact with everyone but slowly at home, on the playground, in the class they learn to separate from others. To play only with those they know, to play with those who do what they are familiar with, to fit into their categories. And the world is all too ready to have categories ready to put people into. Whether it is through the white supremacist lens of colonizers, or the sexist views of patriarchy, or the classist views of capitalism we are separated, isolated and disconnected with these societal traumas that take us away from others and knowing that we are One with each other.
And so we come to our mats. We start with Breath. The Inhale. The Exhale. Both separate and yet intertwined. The breath is only the inhale with the exhale, it is one with the other, not either or. The more we connect with our own breath we are able to connect with others. As we move our bodies in class, we find our own strength and our own grounding and become more stable and grounded when we are with others. As I have practiced yoga over time, I have noticed how when I am in tune with my own breath and my own body, I am not distracted by others. I stay in my peace, even with distractions. I notice how the energy in the class can assist me but doesn’t need to distant me.
And so we start. Find your comfort. Close your eyes if you are comfortable, or just allow your gaze to soften, turn inward. Bring your attention to your breath. Notice your inhale. Notice your exhale. Notice your breath as it is without trying to change it. Just notice to start, just Breathe.
With Grace, Love and Reverence,