One of the most powerful gifts that yoga provides to us is a safe space to feel richly and authentically.
How many of us get caught in days of politeness, with work or with friends, “Why yes, Amanda, while I agree your projections are viable, I respectfully disagree and hope that we can find a mutually beneficial solution.” We wear masks in order to seem civilized, squelch emotions so we don’t appear irrational, and protect others from our fears, anxieties, or reactions. “No, Brad, that’s fine, I’ll just wait until tomorrow to finish the report.”
All this is part of civilization. Until we’re all able to find joy and happiness in every moment, we generally have a cultural agreement to smooth the roughness or at least not scream in public. Observe a playground full of toddlers: witness the true internal human landscape. Many of us have become so good at hiding our feelings that we can no longer feel them completely – even when we’re alone.
Yoga is a place that can inspire peace, quiet and calm, certainly. But let us make these the results of the practice, rather than a pre-requisite for membership. Too often I feel as if we are shushed the moment we enter the space, strapping on a feigned bodhisattva placidity in order to participate in the group experience.
Lest the door has not been fully opened until now, allow me to usher you into this sanctuary and greet you: your whole self is welcome here. Your tears, your frustrations, your anxiety, your shadow, your pain. Your joy, your irrationality, your deep feeling, your sensuality, and your vibrant, shimmering soul. Your startling stained glass majesty as well as the burnt edges of your hidden shame.
Your whole self is welcome here. On your mat. To breathe, to feel, and to be.
To be human.