It’s the memory of the first kiss and the practice of the last breath – Hilary
There’s a being in love that bears no name, needs no process, has no method. It’s the love understood and unspoken except in gesture. This was my love of yoga but I didn’t realize that until I walked out of love unspoken into something confused, trying to find itself in discussion, in process, in judge and jury in plaintiff and accused.
Rolling Stone Magazine and one of my yoga magazine subscriptions arrived in the mail together. I dropped them on the kitchen counter and after a cursory glance at the yoga magazine, I picked up Rolling Stone. That was several months and several untouched yoga magazines ago. The writing was on the wall.
Full up with yoga in the way one is bursting in an airtight car sinking into a pond; thin skin, suffocating a swollen dam I kept writing about it to record and release it. Yoga is my art, a craft, an experiment a dance. Yoga is a body with questions embraced by a searching mind rolling in the emotional field, imbued by cosmic ancestors. When did this relationship begin to feel like a thing?
Competition and desire appeared hand in hand when yoga became popular. Things got complicated. Yoga fostered feuds and created as many opinions as fashions. The nature of the business changed with the internet. Everybody’s teaching. Everybody’s talking yoga. (I recently heard a questionable statistic that 18% of all housewives are getting certified to teach yoga.) Yoga may not have been devalued but it felt like it. I hid out; rarely entered a yoga space other than my own. Conversely I took my journal to the web. It felt like a natural progression. I wasn’t alone. If everyone is doing yoga and everyone is on the web then the web is going to be flush with yoga talk.
Where is the space to exhale a yogic thought with so many others’ thoughts pressing in? Without being able to exhale I cannot breathe in. A walk through the internet reveals so many like minds and like a prolonged use of preventative medicine, what was once helpful began to block my natural process from functioning. I pulled back from the web. My non-writing hand flipped the bird into an ill wind of inconsequential blathering. If I had nothing to say, then I would say nothing. It felt like my heart was empty though I later discovered was that it was too full
I’d left the web and I’d left the yoga community. Frankly, the solitude would have been bliss but for the words of a stranger running through my head; if you are content at what you cease to master, you won’t continue to grow. I pictured myself standing in the surf, the undertow sucking my feet into cement, the next wave knocking me on my face. I’m staring at the card on this desk that my brother sent for my birthday;”I live in my own little world but that’s O.K., they know me here”. My husband concurs that nothing could be truer. A voice whispers; Wake up and hear the bhakti, Wendy, we’re not in Never land anymore. I know it’s time for a look around. I am not all that content. I have a desire to grow.
I hid out in a town where yoga turned sour so long ago that it might smell like roses now and I wouldn’t know it. I decided to leave the comfort of a life that kept distractions and politics at bay. I would take a yoga pilgrimage into my own turf. I would have something to write about. I would open my mind and spill my guts.
I am a piece of this town’s history. I am a piece of yoga history too but history stands still while time does not. A colleague introduces me to a new teacher. “Do you know Hilary Lindsay?” “No, but I’ve heard of you”. That’s just fine with me. I won’t be anonymous as I step into every studio that’s sprung up in this town but I don’t care.
So after a scant and interrupted sleep after another day of sharing my birthday with celebratory and fearlessly joyful friends, my hangover and I entered a yoga class. It is time to see if there’s something to talk about.
(As posted to Elephant Journal last August)