It strikes me how often I hear from friends, colleagues, and students that a challenging life situation drives them to yoga for healing. It's not only because yoga truly is therapeutic in intent (the asanas explicitly address both our physical and emotional bodies), but also because the western yoga studio has been so effectively marketed as a sanctuary. It's not that other movement modalities don't assuage us physically and emotionally, to be sure, the transformative power of movement therapy is common knowledge. But the words and mindset of the environment and practitioner do matter. Our bodies are immensely suggestible.
How nice it would be to remind ourselves of the myriad ways we can bring an cadence of healing to our lives by borrowing many techniques that yoga studios employ? The gentle lighting and essential-oil scented air, the careful tone and timbre of our speech, the slowed pace. For many of us this is going to feel pretty precious and contrived. But when that old hobgoblin of mine appears - the judgey ascetic - I know that this is a path that merits more exploration. If people for whom we care always excel when we attend to them with more love, why ever not shine some of that that light inward?
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