There are years that ask questions and years that answer. – Zora Neale Hurston
When I sit down to write this monthly newsletter I often think I need to have some answer, or guidance, or yogic teaching to share. And sometimes there’s something that naturally comes out in that way but I’ll be honest with y’all, these days I have way more questions than answers whirling around in my head.
Some of them relate to the current political climate (“what the f*#&?” has been a pretty regular visitor), many are really quite privileged (take a yoga class or practice at home?; travel over spring break or stay in Seattle?), but mostly I’ve been digging deep into inquiry over how I want to be in the world, as a white, 46-year-old woman committed to being awake and aware while veils of ignorance continue to be pulled back. And that has not been easy, or comfortable. I’ve been, like many people I’ve talked to in the past few months, in and out of some pretty strong feelings, most of them not very fun.
Last week an 8 Limbs student approached me after a class I taught with a question of her own.
“Do I need to learn to do a full wheel?”
I looked at her very sweet and earnest face and searched my mind for an answer (something we yoga teachers do on a regular basis). What I came up with was curiosity. So I asked her a question.
“Do you want to do wheel pose?”
Her answer told me a great deal. She said that when she told people around her that she was doing yoga they asked if she could do wheel pose, or some similarly challenging posture. Their questions came from their understanding of yoga as a physical practice, and one that had marks of achievement. So I asked what she liked about yoga, what it meant to her.
“I feel more calm, more focused.”
“Me too,” I told her. “I love the poses, but they are only one of the eight limbs of yoga.” I proceeded to name the eight limbs, which include dharana – gathering one’s attention – and dhyana, meditation.
Her eyes lit up. All from a question, met with another question.
We at 8 Limbs believe that questions are part of life. We ask them regularly, as a business rooted in our commitment to inclusion, learning, and growth. We asked questions all day long in our February 8 Admin Staff Retreat (full report coming in the mid-March Newsletter). And there will be a monthly question in our 2017 ads in City Arts Magazine.
If your head is full of questions, know that you are not alone. You are part of a community of seekers, curious and willing to hang out in the unknown.
Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer, Founder, 8 Limbs Yoga Centers