Yoga Every Damn Day

This is a stream of consciousness voice to text mental journal about why I'm immersing myself into a 300 hour foundational yoga teacher training. Run-on and fragment sentences are charming.

I want to shift my life to be yoga every day. Yoga, all the time. I started this one step in a new direction simply by saying “I’m going to sign up for foundational yoga teacher training” with the intention to see what this training leads me to and who it connects me with and how this direction may unfurl, just to see what becomes of committing to something with my body, mind, and breath in a physical space, removed from social media. Steeped in yoga. 

It was a hesitant step in this direction — in any direction, because it’s hard to say what is right and what is wrong and  where to go —  but what I know about yoga is that it is all about right now. About being present, about being grounded. And that fear and anxiety and so much physical pain and social pain, cultural pain, tension, comes from existing in these imagined realities that have nothing to do with now. Fear of a future that is as real as Star Wars. So we invest time, mental strain, and so much energy towards “what ifs” and “maybes” and acting out of fear and perceived survival instead of out of joy and health. That’s where I find myself crumpling when I crumple, when I start to worry about tomorrow, when I start to worry about bank accounts and how I stack up against social expectations. I get anxiety about the fairly near future, a few weeks or months out, yet so many Americans have a great deal of fear in the very immediate future — what am I going to eat next -- and so many Americans have a great deal of fear the very very far future — how will I pay for my kids' tuition or where will I be buried? So much energy in things that are not right now. But when I focus on the ground that I’m slogging through or sitting upon, and this breath, how it’s a little snotty maybe, and the next breath, how it’s a little less snotty and I can smell the fir trees, I don’t find my brain coursing through what-if scenarios of a future that is presently out of my control. I'm just being. And so my stress level reduces. A lot! And I find instead an inner smile emerging from feeling the air move over my skin, from feeling that I have skin, to hold all this cosmic craziness that is my one body and spirit. I just marvel at that! Though it seems the modern human tendency would be to instead to fret about the cold, what’s this going to do to the heat bill and how will the roads be getting home and when will we eat dinner, and what will we eat and how will we pay for it … and will it be good for us?

Yoga gives me strength in each breath at a time. When I’m practicing yoga I’m not practicing twenty breaths ahead, it's only this breath here, where I am. And that doesn’t mean that I’m complacent or that I’m stagnant, it means I’m always moving, intentionally, a breath at a time. When I’m in a pose or moving into a pose, I can intentionally with one breath sink into that pose a little bit deeper than I did before, without that having been a goal I was worrying over trying to reach, fretting over some imagined mastery or comparing myself to others, instead I just go where my breath takes me and find joy there. 

Through my years I’ve had a lot of teachers, as we all do. And I was always a little jealous of friends and loved ones who said they had an all-time favorite teacher or mentor. I never felt like I had that. Not one or two significant teachers or professors or mentors, not in real life, and also not in the inspirational guru kind of way either, the Brene Browns, the Elizabeth Gilberts, or Seth Godins or the [insert whatever name here you follow and nod your head along with whenever they speak]. I don’t have that. But through my 20 years doing yoga I have gleaned wisdom through various yoga teachers, practical wisdom that I have then applied into my daily life. Whether it’s breath or body work or the shared stories in between, a practice of mindfulness, kindness, awareness, how our brains work, how our bodies are connected … those teachers and their shared bits and pieces of knowledge all stem from yoga. 

Yoga is the continual practice of bringing together mind, body and breath. Such a simple and hard thing. Such a critical practice that we habitually and deliberately avoid, but that we need, to remind us of our biology and our strength, the inherent knowledge in our bodies, our connection to the world on the other side of our skin, and our insistent life force. Focusing on what is real, what matters and what is needed, and what is imagined and is not needed. 

For so long I’ve been working in this communications space and I’m always selling something. Even though I’ve justified it -- each thing or person or project -- I justify the selling by running it through my filters of opinion, ethics, and values, but still to an end, to make a sale, convert a customer, always thinking ahead, manipulatively. It’s not simply that I don’t want to do it anymore, because there’s parts of my job that I really enjoy. I built this job for myself after all. I love communications strategy. I love figuring out how to tell a story with the right pieces to the right people in the right places at the right time. But I hate selling things that really, nobody needs, more commodities or more noise. Instead, I want to “sell” the mindfulness and the awareness that each one of us has. We have the control to not want so damn much. To find joy where we are, to find joy right now. To not have fear in the what ifs. To not feel like we need to buy in to the what if game: Be good consumers! Insure our futures! Right now is what we have and it is ripe. It is overflowing with ways to be kind and to solve massive problems on a small, individual level. One mindful, aware, human being that requires very little to be happy ... multiple that by 7 billion and we would have a world that shines a lot brighter than it shines now. And when we aren't wanting, then instead of using our time at jobs that we don’t give two shits about, to try to earn money to pay for the things that we think will make us happy, we find an abundance of time for the things that make us truly happy. Crafting, cooking, being outside, playing games, building things together, art, growing our own food, being neighborly, being aware of our own intimate neighborhoods because we don’t have to drive 15 miles to get to our jobs or have to be locked to our desks and screens for 40+ hours a week. Instead we can be outside in our neighborhoods and we can see what needs to be done right in front of our faces and we can see someone walking by in 20 degree temperatures wearing a wet blanket and we can walk into our house that’s only a few yards away and get a jacket and bring it back to them and make the world shine brighter one neighbor at a time. When we’re not worried about the imagined future, we see the real present. When we’re not stressed about what to do next, we see what to do now. When we’re not fixated on what we want, we see what we have.

How many trillions of dollars are sitting in bank accounts right now. How much food is being wasted and thrown away right now. How many people are sitting and idling in cars to try to go to a job that they hate right now. How many people are hungry right now. In my job as a communications strategist I look for efficiencies. How can I tell this story in the best way using very few resources. Not only because that’s what I’m offering my clients, but because I don’t want to waste my time. I don’t want to waste anybody’s time. Each breath I have is a gift. And I don’t know how many I have. So I want to navigate my life towards yoga, be steeped in yoga every damn day, and live my life one breath at a time, with intention. 

Bee present. :) 


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