Category Archives: Yoga Philosophy

Training Your Mind

I am delighted to welcome author Jennifer Niles here to the Whole Life Blog today!  Jennifer recently published My Yoga Transformation: One Woman’s Story of Her Healing Yoga Journey and 85 Pound Weight Loss, which outlines her journey with yoga and how it changed her life–in every way for the better.  Check out the excerpt below, and support her by reading her work!

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“Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” ~Napoleon Hill

Thoughts become words, which become actions, which become habits, which become character, which becomes your destiny.  Since you “bring about what you think about,” obviously it would be wise to learn how to control your incessant thoughts.  You have to understand that your mind is designed to be constantly working in at least some capacity for 24 hours a day.  So, if the mind insists on focusing on something at all times, give it something positive or calming to focus on.

Training your mind is not the easiest task.  Especially if you are anything like I was prior to starting a yoga practice and learning about the ego.  That pesky little voice in the back of my mind, the ego, was running wild day after day and needlessly stressing me out over anything and everything that was less than perfect about my life.  By identifying with the mind instead of the soul, we give that little voice/ego the power to consume so much of our time and energy by dominating our thoughts and limiting our potential.

During my initial yoga years, during the time when I was suddenly feeling the desire to gradually cut down on my drinking and partying, my ego never ceased to remind me, “You are a party girl; therefore you must go out and drink with your friends tonight.  Who cares if it is a Monday night and you just feel like staying home, cooking dinner and doing some yoga.  You have to go get drunk instead.  It is who you are and what you have always done, and it is what you will always do.  You can’t change now.  Who will you be if you are not a party girl?  Party girls don’t stay home and do yoga!  Now go out and get wasted with your friends!”

For a long time, I identified with my ego and therefore let its persuasive little speeches win the battle every time.  Despite what my heart and soul wanted to do, which was sometimes to just stay home and dry out for a night, I would get in my car, drive to the bar, and proceed to get drunk until I could barely stand up without stumbling all over the place.  When you identify with and listen to your ego instead of your heart/soul, you will just continue doing the same destructive things, day after day.  Never changing, never growing, and never evolving.

I knew that my yoga practice was really starting to work when my heart/soul began winning the battle more times than my ego.  The nights that I actually stayed home to practice yoga versus drinking at the bars became more and more frequent.  Over time, my nights at the bars became obsolete.  If my lack of wanting to get drunk wasn’t a result of my yoga practice, I don’t know what is.

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Jennifer B. Niles is an author, yogi, vegan, and animal rights activist currently living on a small island in the South Pacific. Born and raised on the East Coast, Jennifer moved to California in her 20’s, where she taught yoga and enjoyed living among the palm trees.  During her time living in the South Pacific, Jennifer was finally able to pursue her lifelong dream of writing books.  Blessed (or cursed) with the opportunity to go through many drastic life-changing experiences, Jennifer mainly writes about her lessons learned in an attempt to help other people who may be struggling with the same or similar issues.

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, learn about our Yoga Alliance Registered yoga teacher training program, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series. 

Five Reasons to go Veggie in Seattle:

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Most of my yoga students know that I’m vegetarian. I rarely try to influence other people’s food choices, but this weekend I’ll be hanging out at Veg Fest at Seattle Center.  So how can I not give a few reasons to go veg? Below are my top five reasons (and a bonus!) for being vegetarian in Seattle.

  1. Vegetarianism is good for the planet. Seattleites are known for their dedication to the planet. We reduce, re-use, and recycle. We ban grocery bags. Seattle Kayaktivists keep “big oil” from parking in our harbors. So why aren’t more of us vegetarian? Livestock generates 40% more greenhouse gasses than all of the cars, trucks, and airplanes in the world—combined! So while you’re riding your bike and lamenting the evil petroleum-based cars on the road next to you, know that putting pedal to pavement is only the start. That roast beef sandwich you’re eating creates way more greenhouse gasses than your evil neighbor’s SUV. And if you’re worried about wasting water? It takes up to 15 times more water to produce an ounce of animal protein than it does to produce the same amount of plant protein. Honestly, I don’t understand how anyone can claim to be an environmentalist and still eat meat.
  2. Going veggie is good for your health. The benefits of vegetarianism are well documented. Eating a plant-based diet helps prevent health issues ranging from obesity, to diabetes, to arthritis, to Multiple Sclerosis, to heart disease, to osteoporosis, to cancer. And you get way more vitamins from eating veggies than munching on Wilbur or Bessie.
  3. Going veggie is good for animals. All of you paleo dieters out there might argue that a meat-based diet has some health benefits of its own. But who on earth can argue that eating animals is good for the animal you’re eating? Love Fluffy and Fido? Pigs are of much higher intelligence. Studies show that chickens may be smarter than cats and dogs (though Tasha would strongly disagree with that assertion.) Cows are down-right sweet. And who possibly couldn’t love a baby goat? The lives of most livestock animals are downright horrific. I won’t go into it here, because it makes me cry. But I grew up on a farm. I’ve seen the cruelty, even from people I love. Anyone who claims to love animals should seriously reconsider their food choices.
  4. Seattle is blessed with abundant, delectable vegetarian restaurants. When I go home to Montana, I can’t even order green beans without finding bacon bits scattered within. Here in Seattle, vegetarian choices are everywhere. From vegan Thai restaurants like Arayas to entrees like my favorite black bean pita burger at the 74th Street Alehouse, I can almost always find abundant, delicious entrees at every Seattle restaurant. And if they don’t have veg choices on the menu, most places can create something special. Just ask!
  5. Vegetarian grocery shopping is easy! From prepared mock meats to fresh vegetables, to canned food, to frozen vegetarian entrees. The vegetarian options at PCC, Whole Foods Market, even my favorite corner grocer, Ken’s Market, are nothing short of amazing! And the best news yet? You can sample many of those same foods this weekend at Veg Fest!

And a Bonus reason:  I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 25 years—long before I took my first yoga class.  My food choices have nothing to do with yoga philosophy.  Still, yoga supports them.  The Yoga teachings ask us to live with ahimsa–non-violence.  For me, that means eating vegetarian.

For you?

One beauty of the yoga teachings is that they’re not prescriptive. They ask us to evaluate our own values and live by them.  But I ask you to think about it. I mean REALLY think about it.  Eating a plant-based diet doesn’t guarantee that you won’t act out in violence. But can you honestly say you live in ahimsa if an animal died for your mid-afternoon snack?  I know I can’t.

Regardless of your food choices, I hope you’ll come see me this weekend at Veg Fest at Seattle Center. I’ll be there talking about Whole Life Yoga and my Downward Dog yoga and dog-related mystery series.  (Which, by the way, has a vegetarian sleuth!)  I’d love to see you and give you a hug.  And there are hundreds of delicious food samples to try.

Vegan ice cream. Can you say YUM?

I hope to see you there!

Tracy Weber

books available

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!

Creating Beauty from Devastation

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I borrowed the title of today’s blog from the Facebook post of one of my favorite yogis, Jillian Cobo.  She attended yesterday’s fundraiser for the Greenwood Neighborhood, which was devastated less than two weeks ago by a natural gas explosion.

In spite of the devastation, there are always blessings.  Over 50 businesses and homes were damaged, several completely destroyed. But there were no severe injuries or deaths. That’s probably the most important miracle we could have hoped for.  The most beautiful miracle is how people in the neighborhood have come together to support the individuals impacted by the explosion.

Reconstruction is already beginning.  Windows are being replaced.  The stark brown plywood panels of those still missing have been decorated by murals, most of which (like the three below) are  wonderfully appropriate for the businesses they decorate.  The community will rebuild.  Of that I have no doubt.

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The yoga teachings have a concept called sangha–community.  The drawing together of people with united intentions.  Sangha has been wonderfully present in my neighborhood these last two weeks.  Many businesses, including mine, have pulled together to raise funds.  Whole Life Yoga’s fundraiser today reunited me with yogis I hadn’t seen in a very long time and introduced me to new friends.  In three short classes we raised over $1500.  As always, my students make me proud.12419261_10154265207043268_8936778293896193307_o[1]

I know many of my friends and students have donated via the Phinney Center’s donation link, and those donations aren’t included in the $1500 total.  But all of the money goes to the same fund and will be distributed to those who need it most.  If you haven’t yet donated and would like to, you can still do so at this link.

Thank you all!

Tracy Weber

books available

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!

Compassion in a Fractured World

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I met my dog-mom doppleganger today. A woman about my age with long dark hair who was crying outside of my vet clinic. She was very upset about her 12-year-old German shepherd, who has many of the same neurological symptoms as my German shepherd, Tasha.

I told her to wait for me, put Tasha in the car, and chatted with her for about 30 minutes. I described the therapies we’ve been doing with Tasha. I confided my own fears for the future. I explained as best I could what the neurologist had just told her, which is basically the same thing they told me. “We don’t know.” She said I used the same words the vet had just used in describing the potential diagnoses, but she felt like she could hear them from me. Frankly, I think she simply felt heard.

Why am I writing about this? I worry about our world lately, especially now that the political rhetoric keeps getting louder. We spend much more time talking at each other than communicating with each other. Listening has become a lost art. I’m not taking sides here. I see the same problem on all sides of the political spectrum—and there are way more than two. Our political candidates are simply a reflection of the rest of our world. None of us is innocent.

I don’t know how we change it, but perhaps opportunities like the one I had today are a start. Rather than walk past someone who is a struggling, why not walk toward them? Human connection comes in so many forms, and it has infinite benefits. We’re just out of practice.

Remember what the yoga teachings say about communication:

  • Speak less
  • Speak only the truth
  • When the truth will cause harm, say nothing.

As for the stranger I met today, I don’t know what the future holds for either of us, and the end is inevitable for both of our dogs. (For all of us, really.) But I feel like talking to me helped her. At least I hope it did.

May we all find a kind ear when we need it the most. More importantly, may we be willing to offer that same kindness to others.

Tracy Weber

books available

PS–all three books in my Downward Dog mystery series are now available!  Learn more at http://tracyweberauthor.com.  Thanks for reading!

The Tracks We Leave

“We are remembered forever by the tracks we leave.” — Native American Proverb

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This past Monday, twenty-two students, five teacher training assistants, and I completed an eleven-month journey together.  A journey that saw us through illnesses, addictions, pregnancies, deaths, engagements, divorces, moves, job changes, and more challenges than one could think possible in less than a year.  And yet we stuck through it.  Together.  It was only appropriate that we should celebrate.

We began with a ceremony to set intentions and commemorate our time together.

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We finished in a circle to honor our community.

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Afterwards we drank wine and ate delicious Greek food.

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Which is, of course, infinitely more delicious when shared with friends.

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Before we knew it, it was time to clean up, stack the blankets and head home.

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But even though the training is over, their work is just beginning. You see, these people are my tracks: the imprint I hope to leave in the world.

Taking yoga teacher training is a responsibility. It only starts with the classes, the homework, the missed family events, and the late nights designing seemingly impossible yoga sequences.  The real responsibility begins the date you finish.  The head of our lineage, Desikachar, says that if you learn the yoga teachings but do not share them, you have stolen them.  They are not the property of any individual—they belong out in the world.  During our ceremony, we chanted a single mantra: Om Namaha “not mine.”  A reminder that what we’ve learned is meant to be shared, whether or not we ever perform another asana.  Yoga is the act of living in greater balance,  more aligned with our values. Yoga helps us ensure that the tracks we leave behind are positive ones.

A personal message to all of these lovely new teachers: You were my thirteenth yoga teacher training, and like each group that preceded you, you were special. I wish I could give you the confidence to know what great teachers you already are, but the best teachers only gain confidence with time and practice. I’d like to say “make me proud,” but you already have. Instead, I’ll just tell you the truth: you’ve each taken a piece of my heart.  

Use it well.

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Namaste, my friends. I am better for knowing you.

Tracy Weber

Home Again, Forever Changed

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I suspect that most of you already know, but I’ve spent most of the past two weeks unexpectedly out of town, and not for a fun reason.

Just before Christmas ten months ago, a nurse convinced my mother—who had refused to have a mammogram since her first one thirty years ago—to finally get the lump she’d been ignoring scanned. The mastectomy to remove the cancerous breast took place a few days later. A week after that, we learned that the cancer had spread to both of Mom’s lungs. Since her cancer—which we now knew was stage IV—was aggressive, she went through equally aggressive chemotherapy.

Who knew all of that would be the easy part?

Time went on; the roughest of the chemotherapy treatments were completed. Mom’s hair, fingernails, and toenails started growing back. About five weeks ago, we celebrated her second completely clear scan. We all breathed a sigh of relief knowing that we had more time, hopefully years.

A few days later, Mom started to act confused.

When she told me three weeks ago that the cancer had spread to her brain, she had already completed ten of her thirteen radiation treatments. I knew time was short, but I still thought we had it. At least a few months. I decided to spend her last Christmas with her.

Later that same night, she was hospitalized for a severe nosebleed. I won’t go into any more specifics other than to say that a few weeks after Mom’s clear scans, I found myself on an airplane to Montana with a single goal: get her out of the hospital so she could die at home.

If I’m honest, the week I spent getting her home and sharing her last days was beyond brutal. But I did find a few gifts. Someday I’ll write more about that time and the dichotomy that was my mother. For now, as I fly back to Seattle on my way home from her funeral, I mainly want to say thank you to the Whole Life Yoga teachers and teacher training students who have both helped me and had patience with me during the past two weeks. As I said at her funeral, the world permanently changed the day my mother was born. Mine permanently changed the day she died. I don’t know where any of this will lead me—yet—but I’m open to figuring it out.

To everyone reading this blog, I offer two learnings:

  • Life on this earth is a loaner, and we don’t know how long we can keep it. Live today as if it will end tomorrow.
  • Women, get your mammograms. I honestly don’t know if my mother’s story would have had a different ending with early detection, but at least she would have had a fighting chance. Life is too precious to waste due to embarrassment or fear. You owe yourself better than that.

To Mom: I’m sorry your life ended this way and that you never got to visit Hawaii or live in that little house in Seaside. Our relationship was never easy, for so many reasons. But I can say with absolute honesty, I loved you. You will be missed.

Tracy Weber

Karmas a Killer (4)My newest mystery, KARMA’S A KILLER, is now available for pre-order from Amazon Barnes and Noble.

 

Sunsets, Suffering, and Finding Peace

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Why is it that every time I write about life’s suffering, I’m thinking about my dog? I adopted Tasha-dog eleven years ago this week. I was missing something in my life, though I wasn’t sure what, exactly.  I had a lovely husband, a fulfilling career, four (yes four!) cats, and lots of friends.

But I was still lonely. I had been pining for a German shepherd for approximately thirty years, since my family rehomed the German shepherd of my childhood. My visions of Tasha were laughable, in hindsight.  Perfectly behaved, she’s not. Healthy, she’s not. Cat loving…well, let’s not even go there. She was everything I thought I didn’t want, but ended up being exactly what I needed, and more.

She is the biggest source of joy in my life.

And the source of my most debilitating anxiety.

The other night, I was thinking about how many times Marc and I have almost lost her, due to the many diseases she’s had to live with or overcome.  Her imminent death has been predicted countless times, by vets I usually ended up firing.

But now that she’s eleven years old in a breed whose average lifespan is ten to twelve, even I have to admit, she’s approaching the sunset time of her life.  In the past three weeks, she’s been plagued by a neurological issue of unknown origin.  It may resolve; it may not. It may stay the same as it is now, or it may decline until we have no choice but to end her suffering.  We continue to do tests, but as of this writing, all is one big unknown.

Oddly enough, the most challenging part of this for me is that her neurological status cycles, and my mental health seems to cycle with it.  One day she seems better, the next worse. One day I’m optimistic and happy, the next, devastated.

The Yoga Sutras clearly predict my suffering. You see, I’m attached to this girl. I hesitate to say she’s like my child, because that’s not how I think of her.  But she is as important to me as any living being has ever been.  And I will inevitably have to say goodbye. I knew that the day I adopted her.  As crazy as it seems, I signed up for this.

My work now, as Tasha and I walk down this sunset path together, is to not be attached to the good days, because the good days won’t last forever.  If I can somehow learn to be present without gripping the good, perhaps I’ll have more peace during the inevitable challenges.

Then again, maybe I won’t.

Maybe grief is simply part of life’s process. Another obstacle to overcome that helps us appreciate the blessings of life while we have them.

Regardless, the Sutras say that meditation helps overcome suffering, so it’s time for me to reignite my practice.  If you care to join me, this is one of my favorites.

If you’re willing, please send Tasha happiness, her doctors wisdom, and me peace.

Namaste

Tracy Weber

Karmas a Killer (4)And if you want to show me some love, you can preorder my newest mystery, KARMA’S A KILLER, now at Amazon Barnes and Noble.

Yee haw, yippee, and yahooey!

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere

What Color is Your Filter?

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A little over a year ago, my husband took some videos of me walking my dog to send to her hip surgeon, who practices in Idaho. Tasha, although limping, looked like her normal gorgeous self. I never looked worse. My voice sounded like two pieces of Styrofoam rubbing together, and my “rear view” was considerably more panoramic than I would have preferred. My Facebook friends assured me that the camera added ten pounds (I hoped it was twenty) and that my perception of my appearance was distorted.

Of course, they were right. Distorted perceptions are part of the human condition. Before we are born, the filters of our minds are clear. Unclouded, if you will. But as we mature and experience life, our minds become conditioned. The yoga teachings equate that conditioning to seeing the world through one of three quartz crystals.

The Smoky Quartz Crystal. The mind that sees through a smoky quartz crystal perceives the world as darker than reality. The Debbie Downer of minds, for all of you Saturday Night Live fans. In my smoky quartz crystal mind, my rear end grows larger; my voice, more screechy; my dog’s limp, more pronounced. The smoky quartz mind is prone to depression, anxiety, and negative thinking.

The Rose Quartz Crystal. The mind that sees through a rose quartz crystal, on the other hand, sees the world as more optimistic, colorful, and charmed than reality. The Pollyanna of minds. Seeing through a rose quartz crystal inevitably results in disappointment. We ignore risk and postpone appropriate action. If I saw that same video through a rose quartz filter, I might missed my dog’s obvious pain and not taken action to help her.

The Clear Quartz Crystal. The mind that sees the world through a clear quartz crystal sees things as they are. No better, no worse; no attachment, no fear. When we experience life through a clear quartz crystal, we are grounded enough to see the truth without being derailed by it. We experience life as it is, in this moment, free from the conditioning of our past.

Most people think yoga is about stretching your body.  Yoga’s true purpose is clarifying your mind. What color is your filter? If your answer is anything other than looking-glass clear, yoga can help.

Namaste

Tracy Weber

Karmas a Killer (4)And if you want to show me some love, you can preorder my newest mystery, KARMA’S A KILLER, now at Amazon Barnes and Noble.

Yee haw, yippee, and yahooey!

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere

Reflections on Smiling with Sonia

Please welcome Jen Boyce to Whole Life Yoga’s blog today.  Jen is a current student in Whole Life Yoga’s 200 hour yoga teacher training  program.  She can be reached at jpboyce@comcast.net.  How will your smile (or lack of a smile) impact your world today?

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For those of you who attend Sonia’s Friday morning class, you know she is into monthly themes. In April, when Sonia said the focus of the month was on “smiling”, I internally rolled my eyes and thought, “Oh, brother!” I have always valued being true and telling it like it is so smiling when I don’t feel the need feels inauthentic.  In general, I don’t smile unless I want to.  Not because I hate life or feel depressed, my face is just not designed that way.  I blame it on my under bite. Some people appear to have faces that rest in a slight smile.  Me, I have “mad face”, coined by my daughter when she was a toddler.  Add to that, I run on the reserved, serious side. I rarely laugh out loud and I dislike how I feel inside myself when I smile on command (i.e., for a photo).

Sonia quoted Thich Nhat Hanh who stated “…smiling is a practice, a yoga practice. Don’t say, “I have no joy, why do I have to smile?” Because when you have joy and you smile, that is not practice, that’s very natural. When you don’t have joy and you smile, that is a real practice.” The idea of a smile as “practice” resonated with me.   However, I still felt totally awkward smiling during class. It wasn’t until we were on our backs that I played with smiling without worrying about how I looked. And I did note a slight increase in energy.

The next day my family and I headed to Santa Cruz, CA for spring break. At the airport, we jokingly plastered smiles on our faces.  It helped to pass the time and though we found it interesting to note the return smiles from others, we still felt silly. Every time something went well like getting through security without a full body pat down, we jested, “Maybe it was the smiling!”

The “aha” moment came when we were in line to board the plane. A woman noticeably brightened and widened her smile when she saw us (a happy, perfect American family eagerly awaiting vacation <:). Ever the honest one, I felt compelled to explain, “We’re totally fake smiling.”  And then I laughed.  I thought it was funny. Not so.  Her face FELL.  That’s when it hit me. She was feeding off of our energy and I had just slapped her in the face.  Something to think about….

The next day I ran the Santa Cruz Half Marathon. The day was full of reasons to smile—sun, warmth, beautiful coastal views, and most of all, GRATITUDE that I was getting to run another half marathon.  Though this was my fourth half, my last one was back in 2011, shortly before I was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Ever since returning to running post-treatment, I had been slowly working toward this moment. There had been bumps in the road, but I had made it. It was like coming full circle.  Definitely smile worthy.  But as one can imagine, there are plenty of instances during a race that are NOT smile worthy. It can be exhausting and painful. And sometimes, meditative. I find I go into another space for periods of time and “wake up”, realizing that a half mile has gone by and I don’t remember any of it.  I am guessing that I am not smiling then. Maybe I am.  Thich Nhat Hanh stated, “To meditate well, we have to smile, a lot…. Sometimes the mind takes the initiative and sometimes you have to allow the body to take the initiative.  Sometimes the spirit leads, and sometimes the body can lead.”  I ended up finishing 10 minutes faster than my goal.  It was my first race where there were actually some decent photos of me running (smiling!).  I looked like I was having a great time. And for the most part, I was.

Jen

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.   The second book in the series, A Killer Retreat, is available at booksellers everywhere!

Does this Outfit Make Me Look Fat? A Facebook Controversy

I woke up last Monday  to a jokingly stern admonition from my husband. “You’ve created quite the drama on Facebook today. You need to learn to be more politically correct.”

Those may not have been his exact words, but then again, I was still half asleep, and frankly a little confused. What on earth had I done this time? And in my sleep?

The answer? I had posted this photo of myself before I went to bed the night before. It’s one of my favorite photos ever.

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The photo wasn’t the problem. The comment I posted with it was.  “I don’t look as fat as yesterday. Tasha looks as beautiful as ever.”

That comment referred to this photo, which I had posted the day before.

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My slouched position, the shirt tied around me, and my not-so-gravity-defying breasts had all conspired to make me feel like the model for one of my most popular blog articles, Can Yoga Reduce Belly Fat? Important to note is that I didn’t compare myself to anyone else, nor did I intend to. I could have posted “I look a lot sexier than I did yesterday.” That would undoubtedly have been better received, though it would have invited Facebook comments of an entirely different variety.  😉

But I’m still confused as to why my saying that I looked large in a picture seems to have personally affronted some people. One person (who is a friend that I adore) told me that as a person of influence, I needed to be more aware of the impact of my words. I don’t even disagree with that, in principle. But at some point I’ll become so worried about not offending anyone that I’ll become frozen, unable to say (or write) anything at all. Was I the one out of line saying I looked larger than I’d like in a photo, or were the people turning that phrase into a personal insult being overly sensitive?

The smart part of me tells me that I should let this whole conversation die a (hopefully quiet) death.  The yoga teacher in me can’t.  There’s an important lesson here that bears thinking about.

The yoga teachings say that we don’t have any control over what happens to us or around us; we only control how we react to it. Sometimes yogis use that as a copout. If I walk around pointing at people and telling them they look like an extra on The Walking Dead, surely I have some responsibility if they run home and slather on extra concealer. But if I look in a mirror and say those words to myself, am I equally responsible if someone else feels insulted?

I think not.

Why have I reacted so strongly to this?

Perhaps it’s because I wasn’t “thin” until my mid 20s.  I grew up significantly overweight, and I was teased about my body throughout all of my formative years.  Being told that I have no right to feel the way I do about my body or that I don’t have empathy for weight issues is hurtful on so many levels.

Perhaps it’s because I speak publicly  about being a sexual assault survivor. My message is one of hope.  Survival is, indeed, possible. You can thrive after trauma, even when that trauma is personally horrific. I’ve been criticized for that message, too. It’s not fair, some people tell me, to publicly say that I’m doing okay, because that insinuates that there’s something wrong with other survivors if they’re not.

That may not be it either. Perhaps I react because an occasional reader says that if my yoga teacher protagonist Kate were a real yoga teacher, she’d have a perfect body and even more perfect self-esteem.

Yogis, including myself, are more nuanced than that.

Here’s the yoga lesson in this. The Sutras say that when we speak, we should do so with compassion, trying not to harm others. I have, and I will continue to do so, to the best of my capability. On the other hand, they also say that when we read or hear something and have a negative reaction, it says more about us than the speaker.

Last Monday’s Facebook fiasco is a minor example of a much bigger problem. I worry about our culture these days.  A lot.  We’ve become overly sensitized, quick to judge, and ready to lash out with  minimal-to-no provocation. Maybe it’s time we all cut each other some slack.

Namaste

Tracy Weber

 

PS —Those of you who were expecting tips on partner yoga in today’s blog, my apologies.  I wrote the post below on Tuesday of last week and felt that it was important for it to post today.  The partner yoga tips will post the first Monday of July.

          A Killer Retreat

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere!