"There are two sides to this tale.  On the one hand, the many unite to become the Oneness, and on the other hand the Oneness divides to become the many. Things continually shift between being united by love and divided by strife." - Empedocles

I am so small.  What do I say?  Everyone is so vocal right now.  Everyone is blogging.  Everyone has something to say, an opinion, a solution, a judgment, a sorrowful feeling, an outrage.  I am left speechless.

Part of me wants to run to the woods and never watch the news again. But that part is always there.  The thing that has come up for me again and again is:  are recent events appropriate to bring up when teaching yoga?  Do I ignore current events and continue teaching triangle pose and Warrior I as usual or do I bring moral and ethical and social issues to the forefront during class?

I learned yoga mostly at Jivamukti Yoga Center in New York City for the first 4 years of my "more serious" practice. They are very political there.  They do not shy away from topics such as social change, vegetarianism, political action, etc.  As a self professed "radical" living in New York at age 20, I very much enjoyed this.  But now, being a teacher myself, in more passive Portland, I wonder what place this has in the yoga classroom, especially the drop in class where people who may never have met me before show up? I have wrestled with how much to explore my own feelings on topics ranging from such simple things as the weather to the recent terrifying and sad school and mall shootings. Do my own feelings belong where I am trying to open up the door for others to explore and notice their bodies, their breath, their attachments and patterns/habits? Do people come to yoga to escape the outside world or to hold space for their reactions to the outside world?  I'm still wrestling...

I know some people love the "earth shattering" class that blows their minds and opens wide their hearts, in between each downward facing dog and Ujjayi breath. I've been there. I've loved those classes. Then there are those that just want to turn off the media and the discourse and be told where to put their foot and how many times to inhale and exhale.  I've been there too.  I've loved those classes. I know I will not change anyone's world with one class, nor would I want that responsibility.  I don't put that much stock in my words or teachings. To ignore the outside world seems non-authentic. To dwell on the events seems unproductive. So, going back to my previous post, I will endeavor to "walk the razor's edge" of the middle path, again.  I will give my efforts towards striking a balance between offering a space to feel, move and process, but also a space to simply open your hips and hamstrings while breathing in and breathing out. The rest is up to the student...

As always, sending love, light and balance to a world that often feels tipped towards darkness...

"Although we cannot choose what happens to us, we can choose how we respond." - Epictetus

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