I was blessed to take a yoga class recently at Ridgway Colorado’s Yoga Shala where each month the teachers choose a theme for their practice. They’d been exploring the nuanced differences between “nourish” and “nurture” and on the day I arrived they’d decided wisely to claim both as themes for the month of November. I began thinking about what it means to nourish and nurture ourselves as catalysts of change, and what we could learn from the physical asana yoga practice that might sustain us in our yoga of service. I offer three such lessons now, my dear allies, to inform our spiritual activism:
- Explore your influences, celebrate your inspirations and honor your roots. In yoga, like in hip-hop or country music culture, there is a big emphasis on honoring one’s ‘roots’. We listen for a musical artist’s influences in search of a unique expression that honors the spirit of the artist’s inspirations. Yoga teachers often open a practice with appreciation for their inspirations and teachers, honoring the roots and lineage they are drawing from for the class. Who are your political inspirations and influences? Take some time this month to reconnect with your sacred activist roots and nurture them. Maybe even take time to write about them (or at least tweet! #SacredActivistRoots) in gratitude for their role in forming your beliefs and commitment to service.
- Find your activist resting pose. In yoga it’s said that Downward Dog is a resting pose, yet as you know if you’ve ever been in it, it is still a very active pose! Even releasing into Child’s Pose or Corpse Pose (Shavasana) still requires intention, mindfulness and self-awareness. This active restful state is a great example for us doers as autumn takes hold. What is your activist ‘resting pose’? How can you find time this month to stay engaged, but still release and surrender into a restful space? What does it look like for you to find a stillness that nourishes and nurtures, restores and replenishes you for the long campaigns for justice and ecological balance that lay ahead.
- Move gently towards the fullest expression of the (political) posture. Yoga offers us options for various versions of a pose that we can choose based on our ability. As we move through an asana practice we get the chance to become more flexible, eventually moving toward a deeper, fuller expression of the posture that we can actually sustain. This happens with care and intention, avoiding injury or overstretching as we go. What does that look like for you in your sacred activism? How can you gracefully and gently move towards the most complete manifestation of your political goals, cultivating something that is balanced and can last?
Take excellent care of yourself and those you love this month, and may you find that nurturing and nourishment you seek to help strengthen and sustain your commitment to a better world. Namaste!