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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Deeper the Roots the Higher the Reach

Our theme this week is based on Satya--truthfulness. The practice of satya is about restraint: about slowing down, filtering, carefully considering our words so that when we choose them, they are in harmony with the first yama, ahimsa (which we worked on last week). Patanjali and his major commentators state that no words can reflect truth unless they flow from the spirit of nonviolence.

One of the girls stated that telling the truth is hurtful if it gets someone in trouble--another girl responded that it's not worth telling the truth if you get in trouble. My beautiful "B", who has come so far in these last 8 weeks of yoga said--the truth sets you free from being in trouble and I think the truth makes you feel better because you don't have to keep track of everything that has been said and to who you said them too. Pretty strong words, I respond that sometimes being truthful takes trust not only in others but in yourself---we begin to sit in silence.

As we are about to do our first sun salutation, "B" says she would like to lead the class in a sun salutation that she has been working on all week. She leads the class, she speaks with such excitement, that I remember why I love yoga--because in that moment, in that very moment we all come together, breathing, moving and loving ourselves. "B" leads the class in every asana and also reminds them when to exhale and inhale, and she is confident, and proud of her self, when she finishes, she is radiant and standing just a little taller, her chest is open, her head held high.....and we continue.

We move into Warrior 1---some of the girls are wobbly, I remember how wobbly I was and still am in many poses, I remind the girls to root down with their feet--"B" says the deeper you root,the higher you can reach! She is my teacher, I know it, and I cannot wait to continue this journey with her as my guide.

I really care about these girls, they are beautiful, powerful, scared girls. You can see their eyes change from the beginning of class to the end of class----I cannot kid myself, there are many girls who think I'm crazy and just like to be out of their cell and not running lines in gym--but the girls who are growing, are really growing---and they are absorbing more and more every class. The most amazing and powerful things to me are that these girls are genuinely trying to get the poses, genuinely trying to do things that push themselves. There is one girl in our class who is on suicide watch, she has been taken to the hospital because she tried to kill herself---she tries every pose and her entire body shakes to pull into the middle, she also asks me after every single pose--"am I doing this right." I see her as not a risk to herself but desperately wanting attention---because she is on suicide watch she is in a cell by herself under constant supervision, but really she smiles during yoga, she tries doing yoga--could this be because she is getting attention. "B" always tells this girl--as well as the others--that she can do it, that she is strong enough and to just try. "B" is a special gift to me as all these girls are my special gifts.

In Savasana, I remind the girls, off the mat, follow truth, and the truth will follow you. In the beginning, it is true that confidence and trust are necessary to walk truthfully through life; every step brings more and more hope greater and greater confidence. Truthfulness is a habit and becomes contagious—but at first we must make some effort until we get a taste of the benefit. Once we get a taste of living truthfully with integrity, even if the whole world stands in your way---it won’t keep you from you goal. At the end of class, they give me that look that pierces me as if maybe for that hour they understood how beautiful and worthy of truthfulness.

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