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Are you breathing?

Airplane safety manual

Our new normal is not normal. It’s uncomfortable on every level imaginable.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been doing everything I can to provide you support and encouragement to stay the course of practice, of self-care, of compassion and love. Were it not for my personal practice, I can’t imagine what this season would be like. Even harder, I’m sure.

I am grateful for this practice!

As yogis, our practice is as much about the asana as it is our mental thoughts and spiritual energy, maybe even more so.

I am usually an upbeat and positive person. Maintaining this attitude is a practice not unlike learning to execute crow pose. Fortunately for me, I have had lots of practice being positive through some very trying circumstances. But, I can’t lie, these days are especially hard and are really testing my well practiced skill of staying positive in times of struggle.

Perhaps you remember the in-flight safety announcement where the attendant explains that if oxygen masks fall from the sky: apply yours first before helping anyone else.

If you can’t breathe, how can you help anyone else breathe?

I think this advice is particularly apropos for us as yogis. In case you haven’t already realized it, all of us are yoga teachers in a time like this. I’m not talking about certifications or professional credentialing, I’m talking about real life skills. I’m talking about practicing the ART OF YOGA: cultivating union.

The good news here is that you have been training for times like this.

The practice of yoga is uniquely designed to help increase resilience, alleviate stress, reduce anxiety, and foster overall well-being. We have practiced yoga in “good times” so that we would be prepared for the bad ones. I think this warrants as a time when we really need our practice, and our love ones need us to share its benefits… namely, ahimsa (compassion) and tapas (wise discipline).

It is time to work on the most important elements of the yoga practice. As we are all asked to remain inside, it presents us as spiritual practitioners with a unique opportunity to go inside ourselves! This crisis undoubtedly draws out our triggers, provokes our shadows, picks at our wounds and tests our reserves.

It shows us who we are on the inside through the stress it creates on the outside.

If we, as yogis, are not prepared to meet our shadow and do the work…then, who is? Remember, you can only help others when you are cared for yourself. You must first lead yourself out of the darkness if you hope to lead others toward the light. In other words, you must apply your oxygen mask first.

While I know you have tools to help you with this, I also know that in times of trauma like this one, even the most spiritual of practitioners can forget what to do. It happens to all of us.  It happens a lot. No worries. I got you. Remember: Intention, Attention & Action!

🤗 (<– social distancing-approved hug)

I hope you are well… I hope you are safe. I continue this prayer as a mantra to support our global healing.