How to change the world


For as long as I can remember, my goal in life has been to make the world a better place: to change the world, and for the 39 years of my life, I have been seeking to pursue this goal. Through friendships, family, intimate relationships, work, schooling, yoga, cancer, meditation, God, the church, food, artistry, photography, writing, etc. I have found the same theme: I cannot change the external, the only constant in it all, is me. This is who and what needs to change.

What’s been incredible is that through each of my ventures, they have all schooled me in how to do this. From the boyfriend who told me “just go with the flow Audrey!”, to the yoga training that taught me that we are all individual water drops in the ocean (of life: we are one), to my days as an EMT and ski patroller that emphasized we cannot help someone else until we ourselves are safe, to my need for my parents to love me but in their imperfect humanness being unable to show it as I needed; all this pointed to the same variable: me, and my opportunity to grow.

All these experiences showed me that it was my own, internal beliefs that were limiting me and holding me back from accomplishing my goal, and from Goodness itself. I cannot change anyone else but I can change me.

Sometime ago I intrinsically learned this and my life has been about working to accomplish a place of stability in this: to reach an internal place where I feel safe most of the time. To reach a place where I feel loved, regardless of who loves me or is nice to me or believes what I am doing is right. To reach a place of internal joy so solid I truly feel happy most of the day, regardless of what happens or doesn’t. I’m closer to these eternal riches today more than ever before, and I like it. This is how I change the world: I change me.

The specifics of how we each impact and change the world vary, but the underlying theme is the same. What and who we are, what we believe, what we carry in our heart’s, is all felt, seen, heard, and experienced through each conversation, in our actions, our purchases, our decisions, and our reactions, and this is the work we are to do. This is how we change the world: we change ourselves.

The good news is: you are changing the world, with each moment you breathe. What you do, say, believe, and even think, is changing the world. How you change the world is your choice. I, personally, choose Goodness.

Yoga is What We Need

 

Wow! I just stumbled across this profound documentary called “The Fire of Yoga” that chronicles troubled youth from the Bronx, Christians in Jackson, Mississippi, and senior citizens in Los Angeles showing how deeply impacting yoga has been in their lives.

From a teen who has been incarcerated, to a woman who fought cancer, to an 81 year-old yoga teacher who used to struggle with drugs and alcohol and was an absentee parent, these people are now experiencing peaceful, positive, healthy, and fulfilling lives as they give back to their communities, enjoy their families, teach others, and live strong lives not only physically but also spiritually. This documentary describes and shows a lot of what I have seen in my own life and those of my students and friends. Let me know what you think.

“Yoga is a way of life. It’s not like a regular exercise. From eating well to thinking well it enhances your spiritual and physical being. Yoga’s got it going on! I think it’s what we need for the new millennium.”

You can watch the 41 minute video here: The Fire of Yoga Documentary

Why yoga is not what you think it is

Just now, as I was driving home from teaching my Vinyasa Flow yoga class, I was marveling at the “yoga high” that I and my students experienced and some of the open hearted conversations that came from it. It lead me to think about the (multiple) benefit(s) of yoga and how and why it began. As a good English major and journalism minor University graduate (should University be capitalized? ;), I wanted to do a bit of yoga history research to back up my idea for this blog. What I found was VERY interesting and my intention for this post went from “yoga was created to exercise and move the bodies of early Indian philosophical scholars, perfect for our mostly sedentary society today” to “the yoga that we know today looks NOTHING like what those early Indians started thousands of years ago and in fact, they probably wouldn’t even recognize what we do as yoga!”

The asana (the physical poses of yoga) practice that we do in yoga classes today was a minuscule part of early yoga. The 15th century book Hatha Yoga Pradipika outlines 15 yoga asana poses. That’s all: 15! The asana practice we know today was nearly never the focus for early students and it looked nothing like what we do now. Today’s yoga was developed from a melting-pot mixture of a 19th-century Scandinavian gymnastics program that served as the foundation for physical training in armies, navies, and schools, the 20th-century Danish system called Primitive Gymnastics, the desire of the early 20th century world, and India in particular, to gain national independence and in their minds this equated to stronger bodies in case a war broke out against colonizers, and a man named T. Krishnamacharya (1888-1989) who created a dynamic asana practice, intended mainly for India’s kids, that was a blend of hatha yoga, wrestling exercises, and modern Western gymnastic movement.

The yoga we know today is unlike anything ever seen before in (yoga) history; it’s a complete hybrid of tradition and innovation that demonstrates a God who cares deeply about (all) people and desperately wants to invade our everyday life. Yoga began with a focus on pranayama (breathing practices), dharana (mental strengthening), and nada (sound), and did not have many health or fitness aspects. The “yoga high” that I was referring to from this morning’s class, is a physical manifestation of the Great Spirit invading our physical beings. We are triune beings and as we continue to erase the lines between our body, mind, and spirit and put our full-self into purposeful activity (life), our experiences on plant earth will match our heavenly reality all the more. What a “high” it is.

If you want to read more about the history of yoga check out: http://www.yogajournal.com/wisdom/2610

Namaste!