In this year of questions, April asks “What Wakes You Up?” As the earth wakes up from its winter slumber, can we inquire into this ourselves?
Waking up is a term often used to speak about spiritual transformation. We are asleep, and then we wake up to the divine within us, or to the true meaning of life, or to God/goddess/Spirit/etc. As a yoga studio, this has been part of our lingo, our parlance, for the past two decades.
For the last year and a half, however, we’ve attempted to wake up as an organization in a different way, to racial and social injustice. It’s been challenging, it’s been enlivening, it’s been a whole lot of things, but it’s been a start, and we aren’t going to stop. Learn about all of our public offerings on the new Yoga for Social Change page in the Events section of our website.
The month is only just begun, but on this very first day, if I ask myself what (finally) woke me up to racial and social injustice, my answer this morning is willingness. I became more willing to see the actual effects of a racialized society rather than stay stuck in blame and denial. I became more willing to witness the subtlety of prejudice and privilege, and begin to put my voice and my body in the way. I am a white woman from the South whose family participated in slavery, and who literally ran away from that past, but I am also a white woman less willing to pick up the unearned benefits I am offered and more willing to open those doors to others.
I have SOOOOO much more waking up to do, but willingness is what allows it. And a blossoming practice of self-compassion is what is sustaining it. On this journey of injustice awareness I have had my share of deep dives into depression and anxiety, and they have taught me that to remain willing to stay open-eyed and open-hearted I also need to learn to be kind to myself. It’s amazing how deep-seated the patterns of criticism and aversion can be. Our Executive Director Ashley Dahl gave me an essential question of her own self-compassion practice, to ask myself “am I willing to be kind to myself?” More and more, yes.
On April 8 we will offer our first (and free) Yoga for Social Change class with Mary Imani, a teacher at 8 Limbs Capitol Hill from 2000-2008 who returns hold a space to connect our desire for justice to our yoga practice. We hope you will join us.
This month, may we welcome Spring and ask one another: What Wakes You Up?
Posted by: Anne Phyfe Palmer, Founder
8 Limbs Yoga Centers