October 6, 2012 by blogmasterjdeam
In far too many ways, yoga has lost its focus and become about body image, or “a great workout.” It bothers me, not only because it has nothing to do with yoga, but because this image keeps so many people away from yoga and its many benefits. I want to lead a rebellion and take yoga back to the way it was intended. I want a room of yoga students to include people of all sizes, ethnicity’s, ages and sexes.
Recently I went to a refreshingly unbiased yoga retreat where body image was not part of the equation. I can’t tell you how rare that is and how long it has been since I felt this radical acceptance. How in the world have we gotten so off track? What can we do to bring yoga back to the welcoming, heart opening practice it was intended to be?
So much growth happens when a person is in a place where they can say “this is me; if you don’t like it, I am okay with that” ~ Jennifer Deam
Here is a poem by the silent film actor Charlie Chaplin, written for the occasion of his 70th birthday (in 1959) :
As I Began to Love Myself – Self Love Poem by Charlie Chaplin
As I began to love myself I found that anguish and emotional suffering
are only warning signs that I was living against my own truth.
Today, I know, this is “AUTHENTICITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood how much it can offend somebody
As I try to force my desires on this person, even though I knew the time
was not right and the person was not ready for it, and even though this
person was me. Today I call it “RESPECT”.
As I began to love myself I stopped craving for a different life,
and I could see that everything that surrounded me was inviting me to grow.
Today I call it “MATURITY”.
As I began to love myself I understood that at any circumstance,
I am in the right place at the right time, and everything happens
at the exactly right moment. So I could be calm.
Today I call it “SELF-CONFIDENCE”.
As I began to love myself I quit steeling my own time,
and I stopped designing huge projects for the future.
Today, I only do what brings me joy and happiness, things I love to do
and that make my heart cheer, and I do them in my own way and in
my own rhythm. Today I call it “SIMPLICITY”.
As I began to love myself I freed myself of anything that is no good for
my health – food, people, things, situations, and everything that drew
me down and away from myself. At first I called this attitude
a healthy egoism. Today I know it is “LOVE OF ONESELF”.
As I began to love myself I quit trying to always be right, and ever since
I was wrong less of the time. Today I discovered that is “MODESTY”.
As I began to love myself I refused to go on living in the past and worry
about the future. Now, I only live for the moment, where EVERYTHING
is happening. Today I live each day, day by day, and I call it “FULFILLMENT”.
As I began to love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me
and it can make me sick. But As I connected it to my heart, my
mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this
connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART”.
We no longer need to fear arguments, confrontations or any kind of problems
with ourselves or others. Even stars collide, and out of their crashing
new worlds are born.Today I know THAT IS “LIFE”!
May we always be gentle and kind with ourselves. May we love our bodies unconditionally. May we always carry ourselves in a manner that reflects what Jennifer said: “this is me; if you don’t like it, I’m okay with that.” And finally, may we always and forever more love ourselves.
Pranayama: Here is a one minute upper chest technique:
Asana: This is a fun, 34 minute class:
Yours in great kindness, Chris
p.s. This morning a White Breasted Nuthatch flew into our window. It was knocked out cold and was lying on our deck with its mate perched nearby, making mournful noises (those noises were actually quite heartbreaking.) Mike went outside, picked up the bird and held it between his hands, in the hope warming its body would restore it to life. He held it for about five minutes as he sat near the fire and, quite magically, it came back to life, let out a scream and escaped to a nearby skylight. Mike climbed up to the skylight, gathered it again and took it back outdoors where it took off for the nearby trees to rejoin its mate. Sometimes life can be unbearably beautiful.