By Heather Cairns-Hodgson CYA-RYT200
One of my students often becomes deeply emotional about the state of the world. It affects her to the point of tears in class sessions and conversations. She has expressed a sense of helplessness, feeling as though she is unable to effectively contribute toward remedying the many dire issues that permeate our planet at this time. She’s not alone.
As I hold space for her and others like her, I can't help but contemplate my place as a peer, teacher and guide in my role each day with my yoga classes and yoga health coaching groups and even with myself.
How can we use yoga to ground in and hold space for hope and peace, while not burying our heads in the proverbial sand around important topics? What can WE do? Where does our responsibility to the world end or begin as we step onto our mats? And off our mats?
Can we send prayer and intention? Or fundraise and donate? Perhaps we can become activists supporting the causes and groundswell movements we believe in, to help foster change. Maybe we can choose to use our votes, our signatures, our purchases to affect outcomes with petitions, voting booths and cash registers. The answers will be different for each of us. We all have different strengths, capabilities and capacities for what we can achieve. And, in what we believe.
I feel that the best thing we can do for our communities and our planet is to continually improve on who we are. Not from a place of “not good enough”, but from a place of up-levelling the way we live in how we:
As we evolve, we evolve the world around us. When we show up on our mats and do the work of relieving our stresses, deepening our practices, and connecting our thoughts with our bodies — we begin to listen to that inner wisdom which inevitably will rise up. From here, we can become more conscious of how we make our choices to affect the world around us.
By learning the subtleties of when and where to go deeper into our yoga practice, we can discern alternatives in our outer world. Striving for balance on our mats and on our meditation cushions becomes the practice that brings more clarity in how we may bring balance into our own world. It is said all the answers are within — that we will know what we are to do next if we take the time to listen.
To find balance within a world of uncertainty, injustice and upheaval, we might ask ourselves, have we have allowed the issues of the world to be a distraction from our own inner world? Taking the form of busy-ness in the art of procrastination. A way to avoid changing the things in our internal ecosystem that need our attention.
I offer that we tune-out the outer world for a few minutes each day so we may actually better serve that same world when we return to it. From a place of grounded awareness and healthy intuition, rather than from a space of mental chaos, overwhelm and reaction.
When you bring your own being into full balance, in sync with the rhythms of nature and the circadian rhythms, you start to have deeper clarity. And you begin to “know thyself”. This is where you can get clear on your dharma — your life’s purpose and how you specifically can show up in the world. Hearing your inner truth guiding you to which steps you should take, what voice to bring forth.
For me, my dharma is in inspiring and supporting people to become their own self love-up guru. Loving themselves whole by building habits based on ancient yogis and Ayurveda. This is what I teach in my Love-up Habit Evolution program — to eat wisely, rest deeply, move your body for vitality, practice mindfulness & meditation, practice breathe awareness, care for your senses & organs with massage, balance your work/play schedules & your calendars to reflect time for yourself to deeply self-nurture. And to get so clear in your own vessel that you become the best, most radiant, version of you. If we each show up for ourselves in this way, this one shift alone can expand our positive impact on the world around us and within us.
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