As I walked into lululemon The Woodlands this morning, I wasn’t sure exactly what type of class I was going to lead. I knew they wanted a healing class.. but to a group of active lulus that could mean a range of things – a gentle, slow paced class to open the hips and heart, allowing the breath to calm the aching soul; a vigorous ashtanga-esque vinyasa to allow the sweat to drip off the body along with the heartache.. two dynamically different possibilities, but only one opportunity. So I walk into lulu at 6:40am.

As some of the girls are lighting candles, I lay out my mat and sit. More lulus begin walking in the door..and I sit. I hear laughter, I see hugging, I feel warmth and kindness..and I’m reminded of family reunions. Regardless of the reason a close family comes together – be it a funeral or a wedding or just because – there is always joy and love that fills the air (at least in my family). Though this occasion for coming together is one of sorrow, these lulus are comprised of joy within their grief – a diamond light amidst the thunderstorm. A smile emerges from my lips. The employees of lululemon are more than mere employees or coworkers, they are bonded by friendship, camaraderie, love, and yoga.

So I’m introduced, and I open the class with AUM – the sound which symbolizes creation, preservation, and liberation (or destruction). The symphonic breath was magical, and we flowed through hip openers, chaturangas, heart openers, and inversions. It was a beautiful experience, to be an outside observer to this healing movement, to help lead these amazing men and women through their creation, preservation, and destruction of this practice. As a teacher, I have poses in mind that I want to do for a class.. but for me, the practitioners are what make the practice, the sequence (with the exception of Ashtanga, of course). Without sounding too “woo-woo,” I let the energy of the practitioners and the room fill me, guide me, and allow me to cultivate the practice they require. This morning was no different. We went through a lighter flow than my normal pace (yet still warming), and then ended with some seated hip openers and inversions to allow the release of emotions that have been building all week.

We close with AUM and Namaste, a group photo, and the lulus head off to breakfast before the Memorial service. On the drive back to Cherry Blossom, I become overwhelmed and am reminded of a quote.

“Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear.”~Joss Whedon

The passion that lies within the lulus for life, for love, for community, for giving.. it can be overwhelming to be welcomed into that passion, that love. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.. to live and die is to love, and it is to love deeply. We must create, preserve, and destroy with every breath..with every moment..with every practice..and with every life.  A life with passion is a life worth living. We cannot create joy without grief, we cannot destroy sorrow without happiness, we cannot see clearly until the lights are turned to darkness, and we cannot preserve love without letting go.

“To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness.” ~Erich Fromm

So I’ll leave you with this last bit.. as I lay in bed last night, thinking about the dark night the family and friends are currently going through – and recalling my dark nights of the past and present – it occurs to me…

Is it only in darkness that we can shed light on that which truly matters? If everything is shiny and bright, the radiance gets lost in the incandescence… and we become blinded by the light.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti~

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