Now is the Time for Yoga....
The very first Yoga Sutra is translated as, “Now is the time for yoga. Or “Now, let the teaching of yoga begin.”
The ending of a year brings with it the opportunity to set an intention for our year – to cultivate something new or let something go…Although, in fact, each new day brings us this opportunity, for many, the turning of the year offers a chance to start anew.
Winter offers us an opportunity to slow down, to look at ourselves – our behaviors and beliefs and practices and perhaps ask if these beliefs and practices still serve us. Our planet is facing tremendous changes, changes that will be felt by all of us in the days, months and years ahead. If there is/was ever a time for the practice of yoga to begin, it is now.....
We can best prepare ourselves for the changes ahead by letting go of the things that no longer serve us. We are going to have to evolve at an alarming rate now, or we will simply cease to exist. The practice of yoga asks us to let go of false beliefs and projections. What are you holding onto? I challenge you in the first month of the year to set aside time each day and reflect on this. Take the time now to create an intention, and then honor that intention with breath and awareness every single day.
The practice of yoga encompasses so much more than physical postures. In fact, the most important part of the practice is living a life that honors balance and connection to all of life. The yamas and niyamas offer us a map of how to live life in a way that doesn’t harm others.
In a world that is so divided right now b/c of false beliefs and a desire to cling to a way of life that no longer works to serve the highest good, it is easy to get caught up in “othering” and giving up our own ability to make a very real difference in the world. I have been told by others that they are “not political” or that getting involved in “politics” depresses them. Yet, those who are oppressed by the current system do not have a choice to not be involved. It is only privilege that bestows this choice to look the other way – to embrace what you have and ignore those who are suffering. Yoga offers another way. The true practice of yoga requires us to live with compassion, to take only what we need, and to live in harmony with the earth around us. In doing so, we do not harm our earth – our home - the planet we share with millions of other creatures – both 2-leggeds and 4-leggeds, and winged ones, and creepy crawlers and plant people and rock people. There is no species that is higher than another. There is no race, no ethnic group, no gender, no religion that is supreme. We are all here to share this earth. Living in a way that embraces special privileges for one group of people over another is harmful to all. If we are to survive as a species, we are going to need to find our common humanity. We all need to work to live lightly on our planet. To move towards a zero waste environment. To stop buying plastic, stop using chemicals on our lawns and stop buying GMO’s and pesticides. Stop buying new homes, stop reproducing, and take steps to make a smaller footprint. This is totally possible. But we have to stop ignoring our past and start facing it. We have to look at what is broken and take steps to fix it. If we are living in a way that does not harm others, if we are walking in beauty and reverence for all life, then we do not support the destruction of our earth. We cannot purchase water in bottles from a company that steals land from indigenous people for profit – or we are directly contributing to genocide. It is time to wake up this millennium and start being an active member of your community. Set the example. Live a life of compassion. Stop thinking you know best, and ask your neighbors how you can help. It is the only way our planet will survive.
May your yoga practice instill in you the very real experience that we are all related and interdependent. May all creatures be healthy. May all creatures experiences peace and abide in peace on this earth.