April Newsletter: Be a Light in the Dark
April is wrapping up and here I am finally sending out my newsletter. This month I needed a little extra rest & care.
I started the month recovering from covid, plus arriving at finals time to close out my spring trimester in grad school. In addition to my person load, a lot of collective grief, suffering and trauma was injected into the Nashville community with an act of violence at the Covenant School. In the aftermath of that violence, the state's legislative body further exposed its discriminatory, oppressive, reactive & regressive far right-wing political agenda by attempting to expel representatives that spoke in support of common sense gun reform during protests. In short, there has been a lot for me to personally process internally and externally before being able to send this out.
For this month, I'd like to share some inspirational wisdom I received several years back from one of my teachers I've had the grace to study with. Indu Arora would say about the practice of yoga (please forgive any misspellings) Paratra swabodha sankrantaye, which she would define as "share what you have realized with others for the benefit of others."
You may have attended a yoga class with me in Nashville, and if so you have most likely heard me share this wisdom in my own words that yoga is not only to have and cherish for yourself, but share with others for the benefit of others. What we do on the mat, Hatha Yoga, is just one part of one path of Yoga. There are many paths of Yoga such as Raja Yoga, the 8-limb path of Yoga; Karma Yoga, the Yoga of selfless service; or Bhakti Yoga, the Yoga of devotion & Divine Love.
According to the Bhagavad Gita Yoga is "Skill in Action," and if you have attended class with me you also hear me say this in my own way that the practice of yoga is a skillful action. Even still, yoga is also considered a lifestyle practice and an experience. While it can take years of practice & study to safely & effectively teach others Hatha and Raja Yoga, you don't have to hold some special certification to share the essence of yoga with your community in the form of genuine loving-kindness and compassion.
The word yoga means "union," "yoked," or "connected," so there is no yoga if you are not working toward uniting/ yoking/ connecting to something within and beyond yourself. Let's collectively call ourselves into practicing Skillful action in our everyday lives & sharing the compassionate qualities of yoga--of union--for the benefit of ourselves, our family members, our community members and our environment.
May is Mental Health Awareness month! Next month's topic is going to focus in on some of the evidence base of how yoga can elevate mental health outcomes and a little bit of the science behind why.
Beautiful light shining in darkness,
In the stillness of Void.
Luminous little flame,
Humbly guides her way
Through innermost domains.
Both Terrible and Sublime.
Cast her tiny silhouette
On scintillate walls
Within the cave of the Heart.
Find her there, dancing
To the beat of the Heart.
Quietly. Vibrantly. Wildly.
ॐ नमः शिवाय
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA