Greetings, reader. I hope this moment finds you well and happy, finding a respite from the world at large. Maybe you are having a cup of tea, or perhaps you stumbled in here by accident. Either way, thank you for giving this bit of writing your precious time and attention.
Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Paige. I am a woman on the downhill slide to her 50’s, mother to three intelligent, talented, and powerful daughters, married now over 20 years. I spend my days talking about, learning about, and practicing yoga. I discovered this beautiful way of living over 20 years ago. It has guided and supported me through pregnancies, moves, job changes, environmental disasters, displacement, and an abhorrent political climate. Also, it supports my joy, creativity, and the ridiculous outpouring of love I feel at times.
I am not a perfect yogi, and not even sure that is a thing. I don’t have a pedigree. I have not studied and been recognized by any one lineage. I’ve never been to India. I don’t have a guru. At least, not in any traditional sense. I answer to my highest self and to the Yamas and the Niyamas. I strive to walk the Eightfold Path towards liberation, though I sometimes wander off, or stop and sit down and stay stuck for a while. I forget to meditate, or choose to sleep in some days instead.
It would be easier if I could be like the ancient yogis and go live in a cave. I could meditate all day or chant the Yoga Sutras for days at a time. I would love to do that actually, but, mine is the path of the householder, and in my eyes it is infinitely harder. The daily commute, the push back of the teenager, the piles of dishes, bills, and responsibilities of modern life test me at regular intervals. Sometimes I lose it. I cry in my coffee (yes, I drink coffee), or lose my temper, or fail to see another person’s point of view. Luckily for me, my practice has taught me self compassion and to embrace my humanity. I move on.
The way for me to move on, to get under the emotions, to find my center again, is to get into my body via my breath, then layer in movement, and finally, return to stillness. This striving for unity and peace in the moment is so very healing and has never ever failed me. Not once have I left my mat worse off than before. I have, thousands of times, had my nature and my truth revealed to me, been reminded of my purpose and my capacity for love. On my mat I have allowed myself to weep and to rage, to let go and return, to just be with what is and to transmute what is to what I need it to be. There is no limit to what one can experience on the mat because the aim of the practice is to return one to balance and harmony. What one needs to return to that place changes, and so the experience changes. It’s all yoga.
When I lead people through a yoga experience, I ask them to check in with themselves at the beginning, to acknowledge whatever is present in the form of emotion, thought, or sensation. It is important to recognize where each journey begins. I ask them to set an intention, and then to allow their practice to unfold. Yoga is medicine. I know that if they allow it into their systems it will soothe and heal, strengthen and stabilize them.
I am a conduit for the teachings of yoga. I create space for people to do their work, but they have to do it. I plant seeds, but they have to water them. I speak truths, but they have to hear them. If you were to tell me that you wanted to have an experience of yoga, and perhaps embark on a sustained practice, I would do my best to get out of the way so the teachings could get to you. I would bow to you, and encourage you, and see the beauty in you until you could see it for yourself. I cannot teach you though, only set the stage for you to remember on your own.
I hold a vision of people becoming whole within themselves, and uniting with each other until peace and harmony prevail. I believe we can take meticulous care of each other. I believe yoga will show us the way to mirror our innate goodness back to one another. I will offer myself at the altar of this vision time and time again.
I’d love to see you there, doing the work of becoming whole over and over again. Until then, from my heart to yours, I wish you well, I wish you peace, and I wish you love beyond measure.