I love history and look at it as a point of reference when we come together on the mat. To see the yoga in all of what we came from, in every moment, so we can arrive fully in the present moment - fuels our future. That is my definition of YOGA.
I use the words of unlikely yogis from authors to rock stars to back it up in the classes I teach. These people probably never rolled out a yoga mat or did a downward dog, but out of the context from which they speak, you can hear the yogic wisdom as if they were sweating out a vinyasa right next to you.
When you hear Paramahansa Yogananda, quotes from the Sutras or the Bhagavad Gita, of course, this is yoga. But yoga is more than that. Yoga is everywhere from poverty to politics, from the office to the gym, traffic to the grocery store.
It's my mission to find yoga and show you how to find it in your everyday too. It's easy when history is obvious, the 4th of July, our countries birthday, or living history with NY passing the bill for same sex marriage. It's celebration. It's unity. It's coming together in like vision.
We need history and holidays. They are timelines for memories helping us look back to see where we came from so we can be more present in the moment, so we can progress in the momentum of life. and be passionate about where we are going one moment at a time. It's the key to being mindful - to know from where you stand.
Sometimes we don't have the time to come to the mat. Even in yoga, you can always close your eyes and tap into the memory of a past practice so you can remember what it felt like, breathe into the space and memory and steep the senses in it like you would a childhood memory.
Your memories, muscular, cellular, emotional, physical, it's all there to call upon when you need.
I look back to Hong Kong's return to China back on July 1st, 1997 - a surrender of control, a new found freedom.
I was in England when the headline came out. I remember the buzz, the chatter of excitement as well as dispute.
I remember having bright blonde hair, in my early 20's and roaming around Europe with no plan. I was free and I was in Yoga. Had nothing to do with China, but I remember the headline, the independence and the feelings it brought up for me.
On June 14th, 1777 the US adopted the stars and stripes for our flag representing a new constellation and our grand union. When I went running on the beach the other day and saw all of the beach clubs donned with stars and stripes blowing in the wind, I was so excited to watch the beauty and structure of the lines, the celebration in the bursts of stars. If THAT's not yoga, I don't know what is.
On June 16th 1884, the first roller coaster was introduced to America, opening in Coney Island Brooklyn, New York. It went six miles an hour and cost a nickel to ride. A roller coaster - six miles an hour. Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up. Life brings you ups and downs. It can be a slow climb filled with fright, an instant at a blissful peak of achievement and crazy scary twists and turns. Life moves fast. Savoring each bit of it, the fear, exhilaration, swiftness and slowness of it...that's freekin' yoga.
On June 17th, 1885 The Statue of Liberty, a gift of friendship to the US from the people of France arrived in New York City's Harbor. On the pedestal was inscribed "The New Colossus" a famous sonnet by American Poet Emma Lazarus that welcomed immigrants to the US. Collossus which means gigantic, powerful, ever present, filling space. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free.' In yoga, we fill the space with our presence. We come to the mat, some lost, some found, often tired but most definitely, yearning to be free.
Your body is like a GPS. You need to know where you are to figure out where you are going.
It is my one true mission to find yoga in everything and every moment, share it with you so that you too can have the ability to find yoga everywhere and celebrate it too.
Yoga is such a great feeling that, as a teacher, I can guide you towards. But you, you are the one that has the other 23 hours to keep all the bliss you created in that one hour with me, through the rest of your day.
I was never a big fan of history. My dad loved history. He was a member of the history channel, read voraciously and watched historical documentaries whenever he had the chance.
I have no idea where history yoga came from other than it came from him in a moment, in a flash. It happened in a moment that became a memory, history.
When he passed away two years ago, he infused each one of us, my sisters and my mom with the passions he tried to live out. Whether successful or unsuccessful in that pursuit, we are all shining a bit brighter because of him. He was an unlikely yogi.
Before I started yoga, I was an unlikely yogi.
I guess we all are.
Yoga is when you can feel that connection. Feel it on the mat, in your life, with your loved ones and see that you always had it in you.
It looks different for everyone. Sometimes it's a mat, a surf board, a document being signed by people in power.
Yoga is forward moving pure and true thought, speech and action.
It is infinite in mind and present in heart.
Yoga is my world - past, present and future and I am so grateful to share it with you.