I have been off my mat for six months. From that point of view, I was not experiencing my kula directly, nor was I relational with any of my teachers in real time or in the flesh.
I am hearing cries from students now as to where their teachers are going. And it is here and now that I wish to put out a call to arms for love and compassion.
Many of our teachers are hurting right now. If you have looked to them as your leaders, then allow them some room to breathe and find their way. For them, this is an unprecedented event in their history and just as you are seeking answers from them, they are also trying to land inside of themselves. And they have landed in unchartered waters.
My teacher says that the role of teacher is a shared, collective experience. Ask yourself what yoga you are practicing right now. If you are seeking leadership, can you also find it within yourself to lead? If you have a need, can you also find it within yourself to set that need aside temporarily and show up for those who have been holding you for the duration of your practice?
Can you honor your teacher in an honest way? Can you honor your teacher’s boundaries? And not demand answers which may not be yours to possess?
Amy Ippoliti provided all of us with answers to questions many of us may have been asking, the sharing of which was ultimately illuminating and affirming to so many. But for the thousands upon thousands of students out there, you must recognize that Amy needed to voice what was being strangled within her so that she could be in her own integrity, so that she could ask for accountability which was imperative, and so that she could begin her process of healing and no doubt, begin to flourish. I applaud her wholeheartedly.
I ask that many of you recognize that your teachers need their time to figure out who they are in terms of their own individual voices. They may not be bloggers. They may not wish to say why or what or they simply may need time to process the enormity of what is being felt within themselves even if what they are feeling is their own greatness or their truest alignment. These are the people you have called your teachers. And by that very nomenclature, they have nurtured you and helped you to grow. Hopefully, they have kept you from getting injured, maybe even helped you during a period of injury, whether it was a visible one or not.
A greatly pronounced and unmistakable injury has occurred here and I would like to ask for a few things:
I wish to ask that people act consciously and find a way to treat each other with kindness.
I ask that we take a moment and practice metta each day for our teachers.
I ask that we do not gossip.
I ask that we develop some perspective.
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I will take a moment here to be specific. I heard someone lamenting that her life was ruined because her teachers were all leaving the method. The reality is, yes, teachers are surrendering their associations, but they are still teaching, and they are still showing up with deep commitment, each and every day.
Our teachers are facing big issues which have to do with deeper life-path considerations and they are not running around saying that their lives are ruined because they have the good sense to not give that much power away.
I ask that we not lose our heads here.
One of the primary tenants of yoga is steadiness. Let us practice it. And let us offer it to each other.
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When I began my yoga practice, I never imagined that I would have to endure three hip surgeries and let go of my practice entirely. I have learned more things than I could possibly name here but what is relevant now is this:
And grief takes the time it takes to heal.
In my experience, I have grieved alone.
What I wish for the community is many things. I hope that each individual will tend to her or his individual heart with exquisite love and attention and I hope that s/he will lean into a colleague or a friend, or if so lucky, the collective community for support.
And as far as change goes...
From where I sit now, I can say with confidence it grows us, it humbles us, it informs us
in ways which stretch us and afford us the opportunity to become more.
Perhaps these sound like just words, but these words are borne from the pain of having had to grow into them.
And although I may have chosen differently, I can say them now as prayer.
These words are my offering.
May each of us grow into our greatest selves even in the face of adversity.
May we each heal.
May we each keep growing.
Offering space for each other to find our way home in our own time with love, honoring and compassion.
To each of you in transition or in fierce determination, wherever you are, as our teachers, I offer my heart to you in silent prayer.