Whenever July 4th comes around I get to thinking about freedom. That, to me, is what Independence Day is all about. Freedom from control (from another country), freedom of religion (or from it), freedom of speech (though it’ll all be recorded somewhere), and the many other freedoms that we experience in the United States, more and more each day.

Anyone who was in Seattle this past weekend had a taste of FREEDOM. It was gorgeous and hot. And this is just the beginning of summer, for us, so it doesn’t carry the wistful background of fall coming that we feel once in the heat of August! This is Seattle at its best.

And it was Pride Weekend! What a fantastic shift from the Junuary cold of last year’s Pride weekend to celebrate the amazing movement forward our country has made this year, and even last week, for LGBT rights. WOW! Progress is possible! And 8 Limbs students purchased $3,130.50 worth of class cards over the weekend so we’ll be donating $313 to the It Gets Better Project.

The word for freedom in Sanskrit, the language of yoga, is moksha. The actual meaning of moksha is “release” or “to let loose, to let go.” It’s opposite is to hold, to restrain, to control. Many things can bind us from the outside –  laws, familial obligations, work – but we can also be wound tight by our own minds. The gift of yoga is that it teaches us to use control to find freedom. We learn through the discipline and attention of practice to become less held by the fluctuations of the mind. We learn to witness not follow its dance. We become able to be with what is, rather than follow the yarn our mind weaves about what was, or what could be.

The true goal of yoga is moksa, freedom. How do you experience freedom, today? What still binds you?

May you enjoy your July 4th, and consider the freedoms we have, and can continue to receive.

Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer

Neighborhood Studios