I glance around the outdoor deck and see the outline of my community. They are becoming new on a daily basis as they take up yoga. They acted on faith to get here, so I act on faith to teach as the practice of yoga meets them with its global and spiritual energy.
It takes courage to move beyond cultural stereotypes and do yoga. It also takes courage to teach this ancient, holistic discipline designed for everyone. As a teacher, I set the route; and when ready, they follow the road home to themselves.
Breath by breath, a universal yoga pilgrimage presses them to question their motives and boldly ask “why am I here?” When the question arises, yoga’s song takes over and the yogis remember their courage. They stretch into their containers of reform and travel back to the beginning once again.
The sun is setting on my biker-yogis, and I see them as hopeful; they tiptoe into newness, and sip nectar from an oxygen-rich moment. Western light, partially eclipsed by Earth, illumines their faces with golden rays as they play dead to integrate the last breathing moments of the best previous moments. Alone, quiet, and on the floor, they exhale. On their backs, they release into savasana . . .
This breathcentric community is a great melting pot of diversity and energy. They learn from me but remind me that it’s all about the breath. They are not deep in repentance for what was, but boldly follow their long and winding road as they ring-out more life from life.
They are unlike the old congregations I used to inhabit. In my old congregations, souls were far too timid to ask for ecstasy — having been conditioned to think they were unworthy or that it was bad — those congregations, a patchwork of private coroners, hungry priests, and rigid elders, formed a delegation of the disapproving. I wilted under the glare of gaunt penitents who could not sing a joyful song or affirm something good in themselves or anyone.
The teachers in my breathcentric communities are not perfect, but they tell me something good, and they invite me to embrace ecstasy and feel the wind in my fingers. Again I hear a teacher say, “listen to your breath.” I listen, and find when gratitude lightens the darkness, the goodness of life forms in my heart.