Saturday, August 8, 2009

Finding Our Place in the Family of Things*

I just returned from five days visiting old friends in Central NY, a place that still rings as home to me. There, I reconnected with people I consider family, nourished my love for the Finger Lakes countryside, and relished in the sense of belonging that I felt in my bones the minute I arrived. Jamming to the Bee Gees, sailing, kayaking, and hanging out by a bonfire under the moonlight, I was reminded of the centrality of interconnection to a sense of well-being.

In Tantric philosophy, Divine energy pervades every living being and therefore weaves a deep web of interdependence. In fact, Anusara™ Yoga places the yoga kula, or community, as one of its top three principles. The collectivity of the yoga kula raises the quality of everyone in it. It creates a symbiotic relationship wherein the collective strengthens the individual, which then in turn strengthens the whole.

Feminism also emphasizes the relationship between the individual and the collective, the personal and the structural. Large scale change occurs when we work together, each taking our responsibility for our part in the greater good. Both Anusara™ Yoga and feminism recognize the value of community. It helps us feel connected. It reveals our interdependence. It offers us support and the gift of supporting others. It helps us find our place in the “family of things.” In doing so, it enables us to blossom into our full potential.

Try it:

Vrksasana (Tree Pose): Gather in a circle with your Yoga Kula, interlace your arms, and take tree pose. Then, striking a balance between standing on your own and leaning on one another for support, lean back. You can more easily add a small back bend to tree pose when you can receive the support of one another.

Partner Stretch: Take a good Tadasana. Your partner will stand behind you, take a good solid stance, and hold your wrists. With that support, you can fall forward as far as feels comfortable, trusting that your community will support you. Lead with your heart, and communicate with one another to ensure a safe and exhilarating stretch of body, mind, and heart.

*The title is a reference to Mary Oliver’s poem, “Wild Geese”

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