I awoke to the orange hue of the rising sun, its glow tiptoeing forward across my pillow. The floor to ceiling bedroom windows welcomed the warm first light of morning. I sat up and placed my bare feet down on the cool floor. First sensations. I reached for the glass of water on my bedside table and took a sip, its stimulating downward voyage bringing immediate comfort. With soft eyelids I walked over to the two small, uneven wooden tables in the corner of the room.
I sat down and lit a candle. Taking in the first fragrant note of sandalwood I smiled lovingly at my two tables, each adorned with things of beauty: an envelope of letters, a tea bag string, mala beads gifted from the wisest of women, dried flowers, a Khata, dearest Saraswati, striped stones from a lost city, and a homemade heart made of orange clay with a typed out message:
4ever moving towards the uncomfortable.
Tomorrow marks one year of living in the Middle East.
A year of choices. Desire over doubt. Action over assumption. Ritual over results.
But mostly, love over everything.
On my mat today I am, with the fullest heart, thinking of each person who has helped guide & support my arrival to this moment. Gratitude isn’t strong enough of word.
So, to each one of you, I promise to continue moving towards the uncomfortable.
There will be moments of sitting in stillness, reflecting on my growing acknowledgement of the unpredictable unfolding of the world as it is.
But there will also be an ever-growing recognition that my yoga practice is a privilege.
My practice, however personal to me, is blossoming within a billion dollar global yoga industry which is hell-bent on uprooting and repackaging “yoga” for corporate gain.
For me, and for yoga teachers who look like me, there is a choice.
There is a choice to show that yoga means more than balancing on our hands (asana is only one of the eight limbs of yoga, after all).
Balancing on our hands won’t overturn systemic injustices.
Saying ‘love & light’ is beautiful, but without intentional action those words just become empty rhetoric to folks experiencing true oppression and hardship.
We can’t dwell in the realm of maya (illusion).
This altar is my reminder.
I want to put love & light authentically out into the world, not just on tank tops and following a hashtag.