These past few days have been a grab bag of emotions; fear, anger, anxiousness, joy, exhilaration, and above all else, hope. As a yoga teacher, I should probably stay far away from anything “political” but I feel like I can’t ignore that we are feeling many emotions right now. This is a time of change and the future is uncertain, which can feel very scary. Fear is rooted in the future, in the unknown. And the antidote to fear is hope (and lots of yoga.) Let me tell you why I am hopeful.
I spent 15 hours on a bus last Saturday so I could participate in the Women’s March in DC. I had no idea how many people would be there, or what impact we would have, but it was a call to action I couldn’t ignore. Turns out the 500,000 women and men in Washington DC, and over 3.3 million people across 500 U.S cities, felt the same way. Making the Women’s March on Washington possibly the largest demonstration in U.S. history. Not to mention the international marches also held in solidarity. This was a display of people power (and very peaceful I might add) like never before. Never doubt that you are powerful.
I am reading the book Hope in the Dark, by Rebecca Solnit right now, and to paraphrase her: hope means the future is still unwritten, that we, all of us, can have a role in how the future unfolds. This leaves room for action. Being a pessimist or an optimist about the future means your think everything will either be terrible or workout just fine, without you. Which excuses us from acting or participating. In the yoga sutras there is the concept of Abhyasa Vairagya, putting in your best effort but letting go of results. This is the sutra we need to channel right now. When we get on our mat, we must practice regularly with our best effort and surrender our attachment to the outcome. It may take years to open our hamstring or tame our wild mind but we don’t give up if we don’t achieve results right away or the outcome is different from what we anticipated. This is the same way we should approach life off of the mat right now, we call and write our representatives, sign petitions, show up at marches, participate in local elections, support organizations that hold our values, and we don’t get too hung up or discouraged over the results. That is the hard part. Sometimes victories take a while to come and you don’t know how they will appear.
Know this, if you want to guarantee nothing happens then do nothing. If you want to improve your yoga practice you get on your mat, if you want to improve the world, then we must act.