Winter Solstice yoga JAMM

if you're anything like me, the holidays present an overwhelming and exciting couple of weeks in which social calendars are booked to capacity. we take this time to rejoin and reconnect with each other in ways to simply express our joy at having these contacts, these people who may not be a part of everyday life, but who are no doubt impactful in our movements. 

this idea speaks volumes to what the entirety of our yoga practice is meant to be. yoga, as translated from Sanskrit root word yuj, has a variety of meanings - "to add", "to join", "to unite", "to attach".  in the very literal sense of the word, it deals with the yoking of a harness to oxen or horses to create ease in the moving of objects too large to be moved by man alone. and from these very literal definitions, we develop a more ethereal, philosophical sense of the word - yoga is connection. and whether it's the simple connection of breath to body as found in the asana practice in our studios, or whether it's the deeper connections of finding our truest self through combining the mental and spiritual in meditation, there is no doubt that what yoga achieves is a deep rejoining of our self to the world around our self, in an effort to find an easier way to travel through life. 

as such, our yoga practice becomes a fascinating exploration of how we deal with everyday situations. every time we come to the mat, we lay out our individual rectangles of rubber and take our bodies, minds, and spirits through a practice that serves to reunite that trifecta of our "self". but I think one of the most interesting things that happens with our time in the room is we tend to forget we're not the only ones going through the motions. we see ourselves as these individualized entities preparing for this communion with the depths of our truths, and we fail to recognize there are however many other people in the room going through these same motions. and while our practice is, in many ways, a wholly unique experience, the results we find are vastly similar to those "others" we've just shared our hour with. we all leave feeling more connected not only to what we've just gone through, but to each other for having gone through it together.

only when we start to remember that our practice isn't solely about me, but about the shared experience we have - individually but together - we can start to see how the practice isn't about simply uniting us back to ourselves; it's about how the shared energy of the group provides us an opportunity to reconnect to the spark of divinity that lives within us all. and we can carry that with us out of the room, so as we come into contact with more "others", as our lives pull us back into the mix of the world, we treat each other with a greater empathy and understanding. and from this place, we create an opportunity to continue growing our compassion to the entirety of the human experience. and I think we can all agree, at this specific juncture in the unfolding of humanity, what we really need is tenderness, and love, and a reconnection back to each other, an understanding that our experiences aren't defined simply by us - they're defined by how we share them with each other.

in closing, some lyrics from "No One Is Alone", a song from Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods. they speak perfectly to the remembrance that no matter what happens as we pass through, no matter how life comes along and affects our individual experience, someone understands. someone knows the joys and pains you're experiencing, and someone will relish your happiness with you, someone will support you through the heartaches and tribulations.

just remember...

someone is on your side

someone else is not

while we're seeing our side

maybe we forgot

they are not alone

no one is alone

hard to see the light now

just don't let it go 

things will come out right now

we can make it so

someone is on your side

no one is alone

keep reaching out. keep being good to yourselves and to each other. know that you are loved, and you are love.