The Face (and Body) of Yoga

Posted on Nov 29, 2012 | 4 comments

The Face (and Body) of Yoga

Yesterday I found myself poking around on Pinterest and of course I searched “Yoga”. As I scrolled through the visual representations of my beloved ancient practice I began to feel troubled and frankly angry. I have been a Yogi now for over a decade and have taught many others in the past several years but NONE of us look like THAT! Of course Yogis come in all shapes and sizes, but something is off when 90% of the images picture women who are single digit sizes and appear to be in their mid to early 20’s. And then let’s talk about the poses pictured – mostly VERY advanced poses. Really? I rejoice when any individual finds peace and health through Yoga, but what do these images do for the person who really wants and/or needs to do Yoga but feels that they are too (insert description here)? It makes them feel excluded and not good enough reinforcing the impression that Yoga is some sort of club that they don’t have any right to join. And that is what makes me angry. I have personally witnessed the transformation that Yoga can bring – not so much in the size of a body, but definitely in the strength and health of a body not to mention the mental clarity. But where are we represented? Where are the bodies like mine and my student’s, strong, healthy and flexible but still a size 14,or over 60, or over 80, or winning the battle with chronic illness? Where are we in the picture of Yoga? We are there, but we are buried under the other 90% so you have to dig deeper. But will that person who needs/wants Yoga dig that deep to find someone they can relate to? My dear Yogis this is where we have neglected our duty. How many times do we refuse to have our picture taken because we feel we do not look “good enough”? Yoga poses are about the body and its ability to move so pictures of these poses highlight our physical form – and we have a hard time dealing with that. So we decline to have our Yoga image displayed, and that is our mistake. We are not present in the depiction of Yoga – because we will not consent to be photographed and have those photos displayed. This is a hard truth, but consider the injustice we do to those who seek Yoga and feel excluded not to mention the injustice we do to the practice of Yoga itself. And even worse consider the injustice we do to ourselves by once again telling our bodies they are not good enough. I know having your body displayed in all its Yogic glory is very difficult – I had to face this reality when I posted this website and included my own images. But it is time that we stand up for Yoga, for those seeking Yoga and for ourselves. It is time that we change the face and body of Yoga on the web and in the media. My fellow Yogis I beg you to strike a pose – photograph it – and then post it! Show the world who we are and hopefully someone will see someone like themselves and finally feel invited into the club....

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Finding Peace on the 11th Floor

Posted on Sep 21, 2011 | 1 comment

Finding Peace on the 11th Floor

My life took a turn about six months ago when I received an offer I could not refuse.  I was given the opportunity to return, 3/4 time to accounting.  It was a tough decision, but I was able to negotiate my time so that I could still teach the majority of my classes.  My students have been wonderful and supportive, but as you can tell by my posts, I have struggled with balancing my time at the office and my time on my mat. But I have recently made a change in my schedule that seems to be a promising answer.  My office is about 36 miles from my home, but when school started again it was taking me almost an hour and a half to get to work.  In spite of all my yogic breathing and my years of practice my patience was at an end.  So I went drastic.  I started leaving my home at 6 am, a full forty five minutes earlier than I was leaving.  Now make no mistake, this is hard to do.  I rely on my husband to help me get out the door with all of “stuff” I need for the day. But, I wear my yoga cloths to work and take my work clothes in a bag.  I take my breakfast to the office.  I put on my makeup in the office bathroom.  So really all I need to get out the door is clothes on my body and coffee in my hand and office clothes in my bag. So what is my reward for this strange morning ritual. Peace. I work in a space that has empty offices, so I asked for a key to one that faces the sunrise. I get to the office long before anybody else and the 11th floor is completely quiet. I make the first pot of coffee (and get the first cup), I grab my mat out of my office and I practically run to my yoga “office”. And I always know that if the need arises, I can go back to my “yoga” office during the day to refresh. This is my reward for rolling out of bed long before I want to.  I get to witness the sun rise over Houston in complete and utter Peace.  I have physical and mental “space” to assimilate my worlds.  And the fruits of my efforts are really starting to ripen.  I am calmer during my hectic day.  I am getting on my mat.  I am able to go deep within and keep perspective of what is important. So my question to you is: What strategy could you use to get more Peace in your day?  And why not just try it?  You may like it, or even love it. Namaste from the 11th...

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