I just got back from a POWERFUL weekend of personal transformation and rocket growth. If you live in South Carolina please check out the new Jivamukti in Charleston some time, and if you live or visit in NYC, well then you have to go to their studio downtown -your mind will explode and your life will change. I started practicing yoga at Jivamukti in 1992. Back then I was a dancer with lots of injuries and few solutions. A friend suggested I try yoga. Yoga??? Hmmm. I wanted something hardcore, not gentle stretching for aging hippies. My only exposure to anything like yoga at the time was a video and a book my mom had. To be honest, it seemed like a snooze fest. But I trusted my friend and reluctantly trucked down to the east village. What happened next planted the seeds for the self-designed healing plan I would create 11 years later (when cancer came).
Jivamukti yoga is a form Hatha yoga. It physically challenges you to your core, but what's different about this form of yoga is that David Life and Sharon Gannon (the founders) created a modern practice rooted in the ancient wisdom found in the Upanishads, Patanjali's Yoga Sutras, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. They believe that liberation is possible in THIS lifetime. But how?
Many of you know that yoga means to yoke, union with the divine. Think about the old black & white images of Oxen being yoked together. They are connected, walking in the same direction, however there is still space between them. In essence this is what a good marriage is: a union, commitment and understanding that we are independent souls, and though we move forward together we must allow space for growth between us on our unique journey.
David and Sharon teach that to yoke our individual experiences as small selves with the source of our being (god, Jesus, Buddha, Elvis, cosmic consciousness -whatever floats YOUR boat) is the ticket to overcoming our illusion of separateness from that source. Wow! Think about it, what if we really are all connected, all of us? If we truly digest and understand the repercussions of “otherness,” then maybe we can understand the very essence of healing the planet and ourselves.
Kick-ass, uplifting music, meditation, chanting, scripture and real-deal talks about vegetarianism, the environment, politics etc.: this is what ya get at a Jivamukti class. I loved it from day one. My mat became my church.
Fast forward to nearly 5 years ago (this Thursday) when I was diagnosed with cancer and told there was no treatment. I knew in that moment that cancer would be my guru, my teacher and that those little and big tumors were asking me to change my life. The teachings of yoga held the first clue and pointed me in the right direction. The part equals the whole. Return to nature. Why are the asanas named after animals, the sun, and the moon? To remind us of nature, the earth source, is the cord that connects to the higher source. I think we can agree that the destruction of our bodies and the planet are the results of our society wandering astray (food, environmental pollution, war, hate, slavery, violence, murder and on and sadly on). These collective wanderings alter us, to me that's cancer. When I lose sight of my path, I get scared and make foolish or self centered decisions. But when I come back to the mat and to my own personal tenets, I am reminded that the only way to achieve true power is through kindness.
Patanjali says that through continuous practice of kindness, strength is attained. That's what we're doing here in this little Crazy Sexy Community. We are awakening to the fact that we can't return to health by forcing, taking, and cursing, or by controlling the lives of others. We are mama earth's Mini Me. As the green earth turns brown, so do the precious insides and organs of the peoples (furry and feathered too) who walk and fly the surface.
After this great weekend (12 hours of yoga in 2 days – ps: Epsom salt is my best friend) I am newly inspired to re-commit to building a better, sustainable me. I'm vowing to remove the NEXT layer of obstacles from my life so that regeneration, clarity, peace, and vibrancy can flow and glow in my crazy sexy temple.
Healing, true healing is a remembering. We get out of our way and let the sun in. We move, love, acknowledge, accept AND revolt. We fill our bodies with the fuel (physical, mental and spiritual) needed to shake off the barnacles and remove the darkness. Cancer isn't your fault (I've said this many times, in many posts), but now that it's here we have this great opportunity to learn powerful tools for this life and the next. We have a chance to heal and maybe even cure. But even if the cure part doesn't happen, we can still be liberated. Beautifully, soulfully liberated.
No dis-ease can thrive when we are at-ease. So my goal is to carve that path, create my owners manuals and do unto others, as I would want done to me.
There is only one way to really do that folks.
Dismantle the present culture and then rebuild it.
Peace and warrior pose,
Ps. See you on the mat.
Jivamukti Yoga Charleston
Monday, February 11, 2008
Posted by cancer cowgirl xo at 8:53 AM