Photo Credit: Timothy Paule

Photo Credit: Timothy Paule

hi yogis,

these newsletters somehow became low-key therapy sessions [the book is out soon ;P]  in the meanwhile, for our loyalists, you know by now that I "love it away" in every situation.

the blissful starseed bubble that's promised through the fiery discipline required for a consistent yoga asana practice is worth the concerted effort, right?!

..of course, but true to Starseed fashion, there are multiple facets to conscious self-healing. this whole yoga thing requires digging deeper at what's in the underlying: this murky steep where denial and unacknowledgement of what seems like "too much" shadow-work dismantles to reveal fear of seeing what is really there.

because... what is there is painful.

silver lining- throughout all of the pain endured in life, the most resilient, beautiful part of it, is that my brain somehow wires itself to protect against even the slightest feeling of pain altogether. call me delusional. call me analytical. but it's the honest bare-bones truth of how I perceive the [grey] matter.

the past five years has been a preservation effort to get out of survival mode after cancer while offering through teaching- a "true to Source" yoga practice. daily, I reflect back and give out my energy as a gift to ask us to examine how to love deeper... my intention for practice in this space is to constantly question how we can grow our hearts + minds so that our individual yoga practice encompasses our collective well-being.

we all live in the modern world. how can we stay true to the authentic roots of yoga without diluting it and without having to move to a South East Asian monastery? is this even possible? am i a naive idealist for wanting to dissolve the divisions between people through art, traditional/ancient medicines, spirituality, and politics? am i a bliss bunny bypasser for believing that integrated healing practices are revolutionary and fundamental to our collective liberation?

to honor Source is to have an authentic yoga practice. 

to deconstruct further, the work of Professor Virgilio Enriques inspired these specific action steps offered for building an empowered, inspired practice with strong integrity at the root: 

1] approach the practice with humility. even if you can do all the complicated poses with perfect form. even if you've been to a thousand yoga classes that you know the postures so well you can get into them regardless of the butchered Sanskrit pronunciation. 

no matter how far along we are in our practices or how long we've been doing yoga, our work isn't over until till this life is over. complex postures + code words have never been what yoga is about.

when we are collectively humble and respectful in considering the depth of yoga’s history, context, many branches and types of practices, and also recognize the approach of the yoga-industrial-complex here in the West, we give ourselves a good chance of not wasting anymore energy on the arrogance of pretentious elitism and instead, achieve yoga’s aim of enlightenment of mind, body and spirit.

2] acknowledge where the practices come from  and the privilege we possess for simply being able to practice yoga as a health and wellness therapy [yoga + ayurveda were banned from India during British rule] we can attempt to understand and connect with the complexity, culture and history from which this tradition comes through exploring, learning, and citing accurate cultural references [i once learned that also during colonial rule Indians had been forbidden to tread the main thoroughfares in their own country- Shimla, India.] 

4] recognize your impact on space. unless it's a private one-on-one yoga class, every BODY who comes into a setting like ours is intending to share space with other humans in a class. whether you are conscious of it or not, we are all emitting energy from our subconscious + taking it into our subconscious. 

adding a level of awareness to the ways in which we are on the privileged side of the injustices that came before us so that we could practice yoga here in the West helps the revolution of our body, mind, and spirit and the overall liberation our Spirits we all inherently seek.

5] live, know, share and practice all 8 limbs of yoga, not just asana.

starseed practices and teaches all 8 limbs of yoga: yama or ethical conduct, niyama or personal practice, pranayama or working with the breath, pratyahara awareness of the senses, dharana, meditation, concentration and insight, dhyana or being present with whatever arises and samadhi, or interconnection with all that is. 

Here's to staying true to ourselves,
Leah Purugganan-Slagenwhite | Written October 2018