I took my first yoga class in 1991. Over the past twenty years, I have moved on and off my yoga mat with varying frequency and dedication, but since that first class I have considered myself a “practitioner” – keeping to my path with as much mindfulness and as a little judgment as I could muster.
Yoga – as most even in the western world now know – simply translates to “yoke.” This notion of yoking – or harnessing – oneself to anything is not a notion that the western mind takes to readily. Practitioners seek to yoke together mind, body, and spirit (or breath) through a lifelong practice.
One doesn’t need to look very far to observe the growing disconnection with (disdain for?) our American bodies. One doesn’t need to attend many yoga classes (certainly those taught in the Iyengar tradition) before hearing an instructor calmly observe: “pull your sacrum half an inch forward,” to realize what mind-body connection is about.
This notion of connectedness or yoking certainly has meaning for our inner-selves; I will leave that to the gurus. My “shout-out,” greetings, and admiration go to Mary Pappas-Sandonas at Unity Woods Yoga.
What has compelled me to write is the idea of outer connectedness. What compels me is the yoking of each of us together, and the yoking of all of us collectively with our environment.
“The Marcellus Shale is alive. It is more like a coral reef than it is an inert bunch of rock. We are destroying a living ecosystem without any real knowledge of what role it might play in the larger functioning of the biosphere.”
I’m honored to be a part of FireFly Farms. I’m heartened to be at in the midst of a “local food movement” that is inspiring Americans to ask new questions about the foods they buy – to be more mindful of our “local yoke;” more mindful of the notion that any given country or region or state or county or community should – perhaps must – feed itself, care for itself, and actively work towards its own economic recovery.
Several years ago, in reading I came across the Sanskrit phrase: "pratitya samutpada." Loosely translated: "The delicate interconnectedness of all life." I had the phrase tattooed three times wrapped about my left arm.
I am humbled by my yoke.