Sunday, November 8, 2009

Spiritual Revolutionaries

According to my Master Teacher, Beryl Bender Birch of the Hard & The Soft Institute, we (her students) are the Spiritual Revolutionaries. To Beryl, asana is just kindergarten. She demands a bit more of her students, and that is to live yoga every day and bring it into the community in any way we can. This, of course, requires more than just familiarity with our toes, and challenges us to live the eight limbs in every creative form we can muster. We can sit in full-lotus pose and turn ourselves upside-down on to our heads. But if we aren't paying attention, we are not practicing yoga. That will be one of the first lessons you will learn from Beryl if you choose to study and practice with her. Poses are just poses until you begin to bring all of your attention to what you are doing. Only then are you just beginning to get an idea of what yoga really is. Beryl's Spiritual Revolutionaries are out in the world, teaching yoga to the elderly, to kids, to prisoners, to Marines. They are working in soup kitchens and building shelters. Practicing yoga means doing the work of identifying, and then shedding the ego to get out of ourselves and into the world, making the world a little bit better every day. This is not a one-time deal that you do to make yourself feel better during charity-week. This is everyday, for the rest of your life. Yoga is a life-long practice.

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