What a week! I don't have a lot to say other than I'm so proud of our community for showing up, for the United States to come together to fight racism, to fight systematic oppression and ongoing institutional poverty and discrimination, police and military brutality and overall inequality.
Unequivocal yes coming from me. Yes to all of this.
When I try to look at all of this from a yogic perspective at the huge work we have to do to dismantle what is and rebuild a system that protects and honors our collective humanity, I get called to two remarkable areas of focus: Svadhyaya (self study) and the second chakra Svadisthana.
Svadisthana: the 2nd Chakra that lives in the sacral area just below the navel is the center of creation and of passion. Its color is orange (not fake tan orange).
We are witnessing, experiencing, participating in a vast shift right now collectively and individually. Can you feel it?
It might feel subtle, like a little pin prick on your arm, or it might feel like a guttural roar that has been churning and dormant waiting to be released, unleashed, called forth into the light.
This change is calling to the deepest parts of ourselves—our very creation of who we are, our notions and our beliefs, our values. It's challenging us to look into our shadows and examine those parts we might like to turn away from or shield from the light of truth.
When we dive deep and find truth, it is often longing to be held and caressed, to shed trauma that may have existed through generations before you existed.
Underlying this is the simple truth that we were all CREATED equal. We all carry the same spark of passion and fire that binds us to all living beings. But it is up to all of us to do the work it takes to create a ew paradigm where. we all feel equal, and we all feel held and seen and respected. This is our work today and everyday.
Svadhyaya: Self-study. The fourth niyama in the eight limbs of yoga laid out in Pantañjali's yoga sutras.
When we deepen our understanding of yoga, we start to notice it's not just moving the body or breathing deeply. We are learning about ourselves very new ways. We are sitting with all of the stuff we hold—the good and bad, light and dark, action and inaction, positive and negative—and observing.
Yoga, in essence, is study of the self so we can become less egoic and less reactive so we can come to inhabit a state of emotional detachment that allows us to see what is before us more clearly.
This is not an easy task.
In this moment in the history that is playing out with each social media post, news report, live-stream and physical witnessing in our city, across the country and throughout the world, ultimately comes down to this understanding.
Are we living life from a place of egoic reaction or are we experiencing each moment with full attunement and alignment with our humanity?
This practice is never about how long you can hold your handstand (though that may be a tool for self discovery and awareness). The goal here is to examine with compassion to reach more clarity and understanding of ourselves and how we live this one life we have to live. We are honing our sharp perspective.
We can't shift our eyes from the suffering that is residue from centuries of oppression for black people and other people of color in this country and elsewhere. Or for the Native Americans who were decimated by the arrival of discordant settlers. We can't continue to ignore a system that prioritizes power and wealth for the few. We must look. We have to turn our attention to our own biases and perhaps our unnoticed complicity in holding up these unjust systems.
We turn inwards toward self-study, toward our practice. It's not easy. We get on our mats, even when it doesn't feel comfortable or convenient, and we stay there. And we come back. But it's a practice, so we turn not seeking perfection but seeking more understanding.
It's not easy. But it's necessary. We must not turn away any longer.
Join me for a donation-based practice on Sunday, June 14 at 4 p.m. to dive into these ideas and contemplate, create and shift! Sign up for Sunday Sangha.