Updated: Aug 23, 2020
Compassion is our deepest nature. It arises from our interconnection to all things. Buddhist Proverb
The other day the sun came out and I decided to catch up on my landscaping. I bent over to pull what I thought was a weed, but it was firmly rooted and took a bit more oomph than anticipated. As I kept pulling, I realized the weed was actually a long strand of grass that had made several different connection points throughout my lawn. The yellowed end I initially tugged on had just begun to die, giving the impression of a weed. The grass dotted its way across my yard, sometimes popping up in areas I didn’t think it belonged, but overall contributing to its vivacity. My lawn is nothing to write home about, it’s not grandiose or fancy. It’s a small, simple lawn and this strand made a difference to it.
I have practiced yoga for a while now, but only recently started really diving in to what it means to live mindfully. In my limited education thus far, interconnectedness has become an important topic. The word yoga actually means “to join or unite”1. Through my yoga practice I have been able to slowly lower my ever-protective walls and start building more than just a healthier physical way of living, but an improved way of interacting with my community. I have allowed myself to begin to connect with members of our yoga tribe and start to build relationships – a dreaded word until interconnectedness was put in my path. My closest family member is in Chicago, my friends are all married or live in different states, and I am a busy single Mom. It is a dangerous recipe that can leave you feeling as if you are on an island. All of us have our story of what could make our lives lonely, or difficult, if we let it. We each have the choice to let the ends turn yellow, or we can put ourselves out there and try to connect, even if sometimes we end up in a spot we didn’t intend on. Connecting with some of the individuals at practice is another way yoga practice improves my life. It has made the word relationship taste a little bit sweeter. When you feel like you matter to the group it makes you want to keep showing up. There is no lawn without the grass.
Outside of my interactions at practice, yoga has begun to weave its way through my everyday life, as well. When I get cut off in traffic, I try to refocus on my breath and relax; when I use a public restroom I am reminded of proper chair form – send that booty back!; when there is discord, instead of reaction or justification, I simply try to send loving, healing energy to that part of my body or mind, or even that person. I fail all the time, but more importantly, I keep trying to connect what I learn in practice to the rest of my world. I also often consider the events that led to me being able to attend practice. Space to have the class must be available, someone has to make the equipment (or make the machine that makes the equipment), and someone had to put their time and effort in to training and certification, and then have the desire and means to lead practice. Another group of people must want to learn. Innumerable decisions have to be made, and all come together for the gift of yoga practice to be put in our paths. It truly takes a village.
Every time your feet connect to the mat, you are not just connecting to a workout for your body. You are connecting to your tribe, your community and your world. It is so easy to get stranded on an island with everything we load up on to our plates. It is helpful to know we have the choice to show up and become part of something bigger. In the lawn of my life, my little strand of grass is finding new places to connect, and new ways to grow…and man, is it getting greener.