I toyed with the idea of writing a post addressing last week’s NYT article How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body, but the response has been overwhelming and for some reason I didn’t feel the need to put in my two cents. Regardless, I will post my fave responses (read: the ones I wish I had written) here shortly after I mull it over a bit more.
Meanwhile, here’s something I did write, that I think fits in with the New Year. I realized the other day that New Year’s blew by and I didn’t once think about – get ready – New Year’s Resolutions! Which leads me to believe that I am feeling fairly fulfilled. That’s not to say that I couldn’t use some improving – but that’s a daily given, isn’t it? A constant work in progress. Anyhow. I was recently featured on lifebyme.com, where I answered the question of what is meaningful to you? with connection. Because I think that if you boiled down all those resolutions, that’s the underlying theme. Here’s what I had to say:
Connection is the craving behind all human existence. In the words of T.S. Eliot, “Hell is a place where nothing connects with nothing.” We’re healthy when we connect with others in meaningful ways and when we connect with animals, nature, and what’s going on inside ourselves.
As a yoga teacher and entrepreneur, I’ve witnessed the awakening of connection in myself and in many others. People wonder why yoga feels so good. There are many reasons, but consider that the word yoga means union.
Despite the Internet, Facebook, and Twitter, we live in a disconnected culture. In an ironic twist, technology has caused us to become disconnected from ourselves in ways that threaten our humanity. Whether we realize it or not, we crave connection on a more simple, primal level. This means enriching our lives by spending time with other people, spending time outdoors, and reveling in the basic processes of moving and breathing – as we do in a yoga practice.The evolution of my yoga practice and teaching has led me to this one word: connection. And my thoughts about this are still evolving. After more than ten years of doing my own yoga practice and teaching hundreds of others, I’ve had many warm, fuzzy moments that have sometimes been hard to define. Yoga is so appealing because it is cumulative and because there are connections forged through yoga. Every time I’m on my mat I connect to something inside myself. Every time I teach or touch someone, we connect. It all adds up.About five years ago, my family and I moved from a big city to Montana and I started a yoga retreat business founded on connecting yoga to the benefits of being outdoors in one of the most wildly beautiful places I’d ever seen. Bringing together yoga and the outdoors has created connection on a much deeper level for me. It’s evolved into my life’s work to share that with others.I see disconnection as the biggest life challenge we face in our culture at this time. Whenever we get on a path of disconnection and continue down it, we move away from an understanding of what we need to create meaningful connection in our lives, and we lose things: perspective, physical and emotional health, relationships, and our potential for happiness.Reconnecting requires effort and energy. For me, reconnection comes from yoga, horses, and being outdoors. Without those connections, I feel like my soul is starving.Photo: Larry Stanley