May 2011


This post is for those of you who thought you were alone on your mat during your yoga practice…

Are you aware of the community of others that you bring with you?  It’s not your neighborhood community necessarily, though I suppose it could be.  This concept of “community” means those around you who share the way you live your life, your ideas and values – who support you in your work or play or nudge you to move forward  to take the next steps toward whatever your goals may be.   These are people with whom you have a relationship of connection, some bond that brings you together even when you are apart.

It’s kind of like having back-up when you face whatever you are facing on your yoga mat.  Remember that all manner of issues can show up during your practice, extending far beyond the physicality of a pose.  Consider how this community shows up for you – maybe it’s a lineage of past and current teachers beckoning you to stay with the difficulty you face.  Perhaps a handful of  friends, family or spiritual leaders you admire.  Or it could be simply the friend or lover you are meeting later.  Who knows how many it takes to make a community.

Whether it’s many or few, I trust that we all have a community that surrounds and supports us – often more than one community.  Each may serve us in different ways, but they are a source of energy and connection that provides us with a more solid foundation to walk whatever road we choose.  I suspect that there are times when this community is more imagined than real or more a desire to connect than a fait accompli, but it can be the energy around imagination or desire that sustains.

We all get to create our own community.  Even when we are alone on the mat, we are a member of the community of all those who practice yoga.  Communities are like that – they can be more or less personal, depending on what we need them to be.  So, who is your community, and how do you need them to show up for you today?

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Had some recent experience of  “heart” lately – not only mine but the heart of a community.  Seems so many words come to mind to describe heart and all of them are always rich with meaning and depth.  Whatever the descriptor, it’s meant to capture what is at the core of one’s being – albeit at that moment, not necessarily for all time.  The experience can feel so big or consuming that it’s as if that one word or two is all there is, and there is no room for anything else.  No matter what it is that grabs your heart, how important it is to allow for shifts and changes in what takes up space there.  Seems this allowing may be what keeps the heart alive, keeps it beating.

How vital it is to bring “heart” when showing up for your practice – whether yoga or meditation or meeting another on the mat in yoga therapy.   What this means to me is that you bring passion to what you do.  There you are with attachment in your heart because then you are living and breathing what you do.   The voice inside tells you that this is who you really are (or who you want to be), and the energy of your heart is maybe a bit too attached to what’s happening there for you.  But isn’t this attachment what enables you to bring all of you authentically to your practice?  Wouldn’t feel right to show up “half-hearted,”  would it?

So, my real question is how to put your “heart” into your practice and allow non-attachment to come in as well.  This is the moment when your heart is filled with passion – where it’s so full that you can ride that path of attachment all the way to where it lets go and sets you free.  Otherwise it becomes an encumbrance, holding you too tightly and gets in the way.   It may seem a bit contradictory at first, but a few breaths into it and perhaps you can feel how it’s like breathing in and breathing out.

How awkward it would be to try to walk about with lungs full all the time.  Seems like there has to be some letting go in order to keep us alive…