When I was in my early twenties, contemplating where to move after living in New Jersey almost my whole life, I declared that I would NEVER live in New York City and I would NEVER live in the south. The universe laughed at my declarations of absolutes because from 2002-2007 I lived in NYC and from 2007 until now I have lived in Charlotte, NC (and of course I love these two places more than most that I have lived). Recently some stuff happened at Be Yoga that reminded me just how MUCH we want to rest in absolutes, black & white and linear thought. In the spirit of the gray, this is not wrong nor is this right. I have also observed both in myself and in others that the juiciness and challenge of growth occurs in the spaces and the in between.
At Be Yoga, we embrace and celebrate that many styles of yoga can all live and thrive under one roof (well actually two roofs since we have two locations). For the most part, the styles blend and play well with one another but sometimes the differences, the contradictions create confusion. It challenges our desire to rest in the one path, the one answer and absolute of certainty. Gosh, isn’t it so nice to know for certain, well just about anything? We are safe from pain when we know for sure.
It did not start out like this, yet it has become true that having various styles actually helps us live our yoga in big and sometimes uncomfortable ways. There is no one guru to follow, no one rock star teacher to put on a pedestal, no one clear absolute. There are paths to walk, staying steady on the course, leaning in, learning deeply on your chosen course. At the same time, Be invites you to do this while still bearing witness to the other paths knowing that they all lead to the top of the mountain. We may follow “our path” completely. We may walk on another path for a bit. And we do our very best to respect, acknowledge and honor the paths that others have chosen to follow. Amazing, who knew all this was happening while you were innocently taking your yoga class? I did not, until a challenge happened, and I realized just how incredibly valuable having all the styles of yoga together really is.
When I was in acupuncture school, I was baffled at how in Chinese Medicine when new theory came along that contradicted the old that it was not discarded. The Chinese simply folded the new into the old; both were still held as valid and possible. My teachers explained that our Western linear way wants things on a straight line and certain line but this is actually not the way of the natural world. Sure we and nature evolve and yet it is a slow process with room for lots of contradictions.
You may say, and not just with yoga, well my teacher knows far more than me. This is true to some extent when it comes their area of expertise, and at the same time I challenge you to both ask your teacher AND to ask yourself. The last line in my high school yearbook where we got to say something about our future I wrote: “to never stop questioning”.
Be Yoga is rooted in my quest and our shared quest to grow, seek answers and embrace the notion that there can be more than one answer, or different answers for different people. It takes a great deal of courage to accept other’s truths as valid while at the same time embracing YOUR own path and walking it with grace and certainty. Ask, question, wonder, follow, respect and dive into the abyss of the unknown. In the vulnerability of the unknown we can see and truly be seen. So pick your path, any path, and courageously embrace your truth and at the same time hold the space for everyone around you to embrace their truth.