Ok, so I claim that yoga helped me to go from being a guy who couldn't find his interior life with a roadmap to becoming someone who is sensitive enough that others feel safe asking him for help in clarifying their own difficult feelings and who finds that sharing about his full range of emotional responses has made his life much more fulfilling. What is more, I think that my story is not unique. I sense that millions of people have deepened their connection to self and the world through yoga. I am hoping that guys, in particular, who find themselves blocked at the place of intimate connection and anyone who has experienced obstacles to feeling safe in sharing their own essential experiences will gain from hearing my story. I accept that being known and understood are important building block needs. One can not be known without revealing one's self and one cannot reveal one's self unless one is in touch with themselves. All this must precede a sense of deep connection with the world. For those that feel the lack of this connection, I'm hoping my story will be instructive.
Whoa, that is a mouthful and it is very ambitious. It also makes me nervous. This kind of personal revelation is something I've only started doing, even with friends, in the last few years. Reaching out to the world with my story is an edge for me. As with most new, anxiety producing activities, I suspect this one will feel more comfortable in time. For now, I will acknowledge the excited burny, tingly feeling in my gut, let myself know that I understand how I could feel this way and keep writing. Even just sharing that I am edgy makes my discomfort lessen. What an amazing process!
As a yoga teacher I have shared just a small portion of the things that have helped me to come into a closer relationship with myself. Only some of the yoga pieces and little bits of other types of practices and ideas have been transmitted in my weekly classes. But here I hope to share more of the things that have helped me to approach my idea of who I'd like to be. I still have a long way to go and don't want to pretend I have all the answers. I don't. What I have is my personal truth and my story and a hope that they might be useful to others.
So here goes.
My first connection to yoga came when I was 11 years old. It was in the best tradition of direct transmission that has kept yoga alive for thousands of years. My sister Bea had a friend Kathy Frankfurter whose Mom would show the girls yoga when Bea was visiting. She would then come home and show me what she had learned and train me. I don't remember exactly what we did or for how long, but I do remember really liking it. It was something I could do right away and it felt good. It was a place I could meet my sister, who is five years older than me, and feel like a peer. And it was something I could practice on my own in my alone time, which I had plenty of. Years later when I learned how important lineage is in yoga, I realized that when I began I was in the lineage of Kathy Frankfurter's mother. I couldn't have had a better start. Thanks Mrs. Frankfurter.
So why did I like yoga? What attracted me to this twisting and bending and controlled breathing? I couldn't have told you at the time. I just liked it. However, in retrospect I've got some ideas. To know about this I think it is important to know who I was and what my life was like at the time. Something that I will affectionately entitle "The Trauma of My Tween Years". It will be my most difficult piece of self revelation yet and it will be the topic of my next blog in a week or so. Wish me luck.