We’ve arrived at the Fall Equinox. In many ways, nothing has changed. The heaviness of a world under duress is as palpable as ever - pandemic, racism, ecocide.
Wherever I look, the message is the same - about breath: an airborne virus; police murders, huge wildfires.
As a bodyworker and longtime teacher of breath practices, I rely on my own breath as a tool for my professional work, as well as my personal growth. The breath is a lifelong companion, an echo-chamber for the emotions, and often, a best friend.
Is there anything more precious to a human body than the breath?
When I hear the call “Black Lives Matter”, my own breath quickens. I know how big and important of a wave this movement is, and how tricky it is to hold the trauma of generationally disenfranchised and historically abused people, alongside the power-happiness, denial and squirrly wiggling of the settler-colonial classes.
What gets people who have power inspired to transcend their layers of comfort, discomfort and move through shame to bring forth a humane world? A new culture? A whole and loving way of being? One that holds dignity for every human being?
As a child immigrant who was brought from Eastern Europe to the United States for a family’s political and economic reasons, I struggle to find my place. I am both colonialist and colonized - with European roots that give me my mask of whiteness. From a distance, I hold power; but closer up, I’m foreign, female, queer, heathen. It is precisely these less empowered identities that have been my teachers, bringing me some real perspective on the workings of this world.
This broken world.
As a bodyworker, as a therapist, I am here to be part of the repairs. Part of the healing and whole-making. I am here to leverage my bit of privilege for the liberation of all.
Buddhist priest and liberation activist, the reverend angel Kyodo williams points to the power of contemplative practices like meditation and, therefore also yoga nidra, to reorganize the inner workings of individuals. In the cultivation of inner-awareness, oppressors have an opportunity to reassess their ways and maybe find new ways of being; the oppressed have a chance to reach into a well of source energy and maybe find empowerment and support to keep on keepin’ on.
The rev. angel doesn’t stop at contemplative practices; she sees those as good habits and tools to sustain activism - meaning, the actual work of confronting systems and structures to create change. To stand up and call for justice.
And this is one way to feel better at this point in the pandemic - this point when we’ve entered a new season, the year’s final quarter. It is time to charge and recharge the inner batteries, assess and reassess the inner workings and show up empowered to create change. Inside of ourselves and out in the world.
To be with the breath and expand its capacity; and to be with our hearts and expand theirs, too.
To that end, I am here and available with a range of services as teacher and guide. I witness, time and time again, how a well-delivered breath practice and Yoga Nidra nourish and inspire; soothe and bring clarity to what needs action.
In my own life, Yoga Nidra has brought me rest in sleepless nights, yielded next steps in business planning, resolved confusion about interpersonal dynamics and inspired many creative projects.
So I know it has a role to play in dismantling white supremacy too - and to be a part of the healing, for people of all races. And part of the visioning of the new cultures we want instead. Conscious awareness helps reorganize the patterns of personality and redistribute power.
But only if it is practiced.
If you already have a yoga nidra practice, or are on another meditation / contemplation path, you know. And perhaps you’re ready to yoke that discipline to your social justice and anti-racism work?
Or perhaps you are just at a point of feeling curious about introspective practice and the idea of addressing inner turmoil as well as some of the world’s problems with gentleness and stillness sounds attractive to you? Then please reach out. An exploratory session will answer your questions, give you an experience and perhaps open a new tool for you to help make this world a better place.
One breath at a time.