You know those moments you have in yoga when it feels like the sky opens up and rain or sunshine pours into your heart and shazam! – you feel connected and understood? Just the other day I had one of those sweet moments at the end of Misty’s class as we were winding down to a savasana after a challenging vinyasa class. The song Home Again by Michael Kiwanuka flooded the room. I could hear the sounds of breath from my mat mates as if they too were entering a mysterious and awakened space. Kiwanuka’s soulful voice spoke right to me giving me words I have recently not been able to find for myself. Home Again. Home Again. It felt so good to be on my mat there in the back row looking out the windows at the oversized snowflakes parading down. The energy in the room was comforting, loving, and nurturing. There’s no place like home. I had entered the heart of myself – in my body and in the warm and welcoming arms of BYH.
I have been traveling off island to teach yoga to a group of students at Summit High School. After six weeks at Summit I can honestly say that the students are teaching me more than I had planned to teach them. Mostly they have taught me to listen (“too much talk is making me old”). They want me to be a steady, compassionate partner in their young adulthood. When I listen, our relationship shifts. They have my attention. It’s not comfortable – the listening without the impulse to fix, to lecture, to advise, to advocate, to steer and to defend. I often feel lost. Why don’t I have answers? After moving through yoga poses, breathing exercises and Yoga Nidra, we sit in a circle. I offer a few teachings on yoga philosophy or metta meditation. Over time, we’ve created a place that feels safe enough to talk and to share. They want to talk about racism, white privilege, toxic relationships, gun violence, parent and family stress, depression and isolation. They want to be listened to, they want to know that they are okay, and they want dignity and respect.
They want me to keep showing up for them, to look into their eyes and say: you are whole, you are loved, you belong, your voice and contribution matters.
When I come home on the ferry I can’t stop thinking about the students. I look back at the city and think…”where am I going?” Lost Again. Moving on…I smile, I tear up. Home Again.
I’m reminded that practicing and teaching yoga is not just about tools and life skills. It’s not about me getting on my mat to achieve the next advanced pose, aligning my hips, nor accumulating more knowledge for more information to impart to young people. It is more and more an internal journey of deeper and refined listening and seeing. It’s a path – and all paths deserve compassion, understanding and intention. By leaving the comforts of home, I’ve felt refreshingly lost. I feel engaged, humbled and clear about why I continue to practice and teach yoga. I see how much more there is to learn. Reaching out, connecting and sharing with people outside my Home has challenged me in a good way. Home Again on Bainbridge makes me feel strong and supported. Enough to venture outside my habitual spaces and see that… But there is a restlessness I can’t explain – that I have work to do and people who need me to hear their story and to feel their pain. I think it’s one of those times in my life that I seek to understand more than to be understood.
I close my eyes
Moving on again…
I am looking forward to our paths crossing again this month as I am “Home Again.”
I’m grateful for you and the BYH community that remains a steady, compassionate home for all who enter, lost or found or somewhere inbetween.
‘Moving On’ by Michael Kiwanuka – Click Here to listen