The Big J: My Favorite Yogi
For a long while I have been feeling uneasy about "my place" in the yoga community: who am I among the millions (could that be real? It sure feels like there are millions of yoga teachers out there these days... ;)) of yoga instructors. Yeah, knowing all about alignment is cool, and I get that it's important that I understand it and mindfully plan safe practices; mudras and chakras and pranayama practices are also highly powerful, interesting and fun. But what's in my heart, what I can speak to from a sincere and genuine place, are the stories of Jesus and Mary, the Saints, Angels, and the traditions of my Catholic roots. I have worn many masks as a yoga teacher throughout the last five years: attempting to be the hotsy totsy, pop music vinyasa flow instructor, the scientific queen of anatomy, and the list goes on... And what I keep coming back to, what's real in the most authentic place in my soul, are my teachers: Jesus and Mary (yes, while maybe a bit untraditional, my Christian understanding is steeped with strong, powerful, kick-ass Catholic women: the Mary(s), Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, Brigid, Joan of Arc... there are many and they hold equally powerful positions in the puzzle of my Christian understanding). And so I guess this post is my coming out party: that my call as a teacher is to create an even deeper understanding of the lessons of Christ on the yoga mat. There has to be a way that all of it -- the chakras, the breathwork, the poses; nature, the seasons, the rhythms of life; AND the incarnation, the crucifixion and the resurrection -- makes sense. And that's what I aim to learn and teach through my yoga practice: not Hinduism OR Christianity, not Ayurveda OR the Incarnation, but all of it: meditation AND prayer, Krishna AND Jesus, Energy AND the Holy Spirit.
So what the heck does this have to do with winter? I've been really reflective on the season of Lent -- the time when Jesus went out in the desert to be alone with God before he was faced with the most tumultuous and trying time of His life: the crucifixion. As I prayed about all of this today, I realized that this time of quiet with God is what the season of winter is calling us to be a part of.
Ayurvedically, winter is a YIN time when energy is low within all parts of nature, including ourselves: we are called, during this time, to enter into the quiet, conserve our energy, and prepare for what's next. And as much as over-eating, over-spending and over-drinking help us to feel "better", it's not a "good" that lasts - but a fleeting one that often makes us feel ickier than we did before we grabbed for whatever it was to ease our discomfort. So, as much as you may be wanting to avoid winter, my practices during lent call us to enter it, fully, without resistance, patiently accepting the lessons that God is teaching us through these winter months.
If you want to recharge your battery in a gentle, loving, nurturing way that will give you the energy to keep going join me on the mat, and I can promise you that the Holy Spirit will take care of you through these beautiful, gently heating restorative classes.
Let's come together and focus on the beautiful reminder that the Holy Spirit offers us during the winter season: "Be still and know that I am God."
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Yoga Teacher and Student, Speaker, Writer, Mother, Wife, Friend, Daughter, Sister, Human